Nitrous oxide formation during the reaction of simulated exhaust streams over rhodium, platinum and palladium catalysts

Noel W. Cant*, Dennys E. Angove, Dean C. Chambers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    76 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-73
    Number of pages11
    JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 1998


    • catalytic converters
    • nitrous oxide
    • palladium
    • platinum
    • rhodium


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