Close-Coupled Catalytic Converter

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Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles with internal combustion engines all have in common one dirty little secret. After the engine is started, and until the catalytic converter is up to operating temperature, the engine's exhaust gases are emitting pollutants as if the vehicle did not have a catalytic converter installed. The reason for the delay before the catalytic converter starts doing its job is that it takes time for the engine's hot exhaust gases to raise the catalytic converter from ambient temperature to over a 1000 DEG F. In cold climates, this situation is even more exacerbated.

Catalytic converter manufacturers and engine manufacturers have addressed this shortcoming by moving the catalytic converter mounting in the vehicle's exhaust system from an under-body location to an under-the-hood placement in order to be closer to the engine's exhaust manifold. However, this has resulted in only an incremental decrease in the time it takes for the catalytic converter to reach operating temperature, otherwise known as "light-off".

A better solution, instead, is to mount small, discrete, catalytic converters at, or in close proximity to, each of the engine's exhaust ports, or within the exhaust manifold. This distributed approach allows the closest possible coupling to the converters' heat source.

However, until my invention, titled: Insert For A Catalytic Converter, U.S. Pat. No. 7,587,819, no diminutive close-coupled catalytic converter could survive the extreme thermal and physical shock environment associated with exhaust ports where temperatures can climb to over 2000 DEG F, and shock loads can exceed 50 G's. Nine samples of my invention were tested and were the first to survive the severe Engine Aging Test which is conducted on a small engine platform.

The technology developed for this invention precisely forms a metal can, or mantle, that uniformly compresses a fibrous spacer media around a cylindrical, monolithic, ceramic honeycomb substrate (on which the catalytic materials are applied) in order to hold and protect the catalytic substrate. The process design achieves multiple objectives:

1. Ceramic substrate withstands thermal shock and extreme temperatures over design lifetime.

2. Ceramic substrate withstands exhaust gas pressure pulses over design lifetime.

3. Substrate withstands small engine G-forces over design lifetime.

4. Substrate quickly light-off in seconds.

5. Process is amenable to mass production.

This technology is available for licensing or sale.


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  • Name:
    Herbert Hall
  • Type of entry:
  • Patent status: