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  • Palladium

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    Palladium is a chemical element with symbol  Pd and atomic number 46. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. He named it after the asteroid Pallas, which was itself named after the epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, acquired by her when she slew Pallas. Palladium, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGMs). These have similar chemical properties, but palladium has the lowest melting point and is the least dense of them. More than half the supply of palladium and its congener platinum is used in catalytic converters, which convert as much as 90% of the harmful gases in automobile exhaust (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide) into less noxious substances (nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor). Palladium is also used in electronics, dentistry, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications, groundwater treatment, and jewelry. Palladium is a key component of fuel cells, which react hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Ore deposits of palladium and other PGMs are rare.

  • Engelhard

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    silver bar. An Engelhard poured 2oz 99.99% pure gold barEngelhard Corporation is a former American Fortune 500 company headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. It is credited with developing the first production catalytic converter. In 2006, the German chemical manufacturer BASF bought Engelhard for $US5 billion (5,000,000,000).

  • Catalytic converter

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    Dodge Ram Simulation of flow inside a catalytic converter A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction (an oxidation and a reduction reaction). Catalytic converters are usually used with internal combustion engines fueled by either gasoline or diesel—including lean-burn engines as well as kerosene heaters and stoves. The first widespread introduction of catalytic converters was in the United States automobile market. To comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's stricter regulation of exhaust emissions, most gasoline-powered vehicles starting with the 1975 model year must be equipped with catalytic converters. These "two-way" converters combine oxygen with carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). In 1981, two-way catalytic converters were rendered obsolete by "three-way" converters that also reduce oxides of nitrogen (); however, two-way converters are still used for lean-burn engines.

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