Thursday, May 02, 2013

Espuma cerámica limpia gases de escape

Uno de los componentes más importantes en el sistema de escape de un vehículo impulsado por hidrocarburos  es el catalizador. Dicho dispositivo es de capital importancia para disminuir la cantidad de gases contaminantes y de efecto invernadero producidos en este tipo de vehículos. Sin embargo por el uso de metales como platino, rodio o paladio que catalizan reacciones en su interior se convierten en dispositivos costosos.
Empa researchers from the Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory, under the leadership of Panayotis Dimopoulos Eggenschwiler, have succeeded in finding an innovative solution to this problem. The team is working on a catalytic substrate made of ceramic foam which, in future, will replace the conventional monolithic structure. For the same catalytic performance the novel device is significantly cheaper than the monolith-based unit. In contrast to the latter, the ceramic foam has in an irregular structure -- much like a sponge -- which causes the gas passing through it to flow in a turbulent manner, distributed equally throughout the whole of its volume. Although the foam catalyst actually has less surface area than the monolith, this area is much more efficiently utilized. As a result, to achieve the same effect as a conventional catalytic unit, the ceramic type requires only one third as much expensive noble metal -- and only half the physical length.

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