The formation of nitrous oxide during the reaction of a mixture of CO, NO, C3H6, C3H8, H2 and O2 over supported rhodium, platinum and palladium catalysts has been investigated under near-stoichiometric conditions. Rhodium gives the highest amount of N2O with a peak selectivity near 70% at 250°C followed by a steady decline to low levels by 400°C. With Pt N2O is seen in a narrow region just above 300°C and is removed at higher temperatures during oxidation of propane. Ammonia, probably produced via isocyanic acid, is the chief nitrogen-containing product of the reaction over Pt/Al2O3 below 300°C, but this route is much reduced when CeO2/Al2O3 is the support. Palladium-containing catalysts give rise to N2O in two regimes. It arises below 200°C by the reaction of NO with H2 and above 300°C by another process which unlike Rh and Pt, persists through to 500°C. The behaviour of a trimetal catalyst containing Pd, Pt and Rh can be interpreted as a composite of that of the individual metals. Pt/Rh-containing catalytic converters recovered from vehicles show pronounced differences in N2O production which correlate with a reduced ability to remove propane. The most probable cause of such changes is sintering of the platinum component as a result of exposure to high temperature. This may be the origin of the increased N2O production seen in driving cycle tests with high mileage vehicles.
- catalytic converters
- nitrous oxide