Nano-particles in the Car Industry

HideShow resource information

Nitrogen Monoxide

What is it? Nitrogen monoxide is created when a car engine heats up, at high temperatures Nitrogen and Oxygen in the air combust to create Nitrogen monoxide.

Hazard: Nitrogen monoxide is a greenhouse gas and therefore creates pollution but it is also directly harmful to humans. Nitrogen monoxide makes asthma worse. If Nitrogen monoxide escapes into the atmosphere and dissolves into rainwater, it can cause acid rain which damages plants, lake-life and limestone buildings.

Risk: The risk increases for everybody when cars don't have a catalytic converter but is generally much higher for people who live in very industrialised or populated areas such as cities.

Solution: Catalytic converters are placed on the underside of cars and have large surface areas so that they can speed up reactions that make harmful chemicals into less harmful chemicals. For example, they decompose (the opposite of combust) Nitrogen monoxide back into Nitrogen and Oxygen.

Formulas:

1 of 6

Carbon Monoxide

What is it? Carbon monoxide is formed from incomplete combustion in car engines.

Hazard: Carbon monoxide is highly poisonous gas and so directly harmful to humans. Without ventilation it is deadly.

Risk: The risk increases for everybody when cars don't have a catalytic converter but is generally much higher for people who live in very industrialised or populated areas such as cities, the risk is very, very high for people who don't have good ventilation or when carbon monoxide is in an enclosed space.

Solution: Catalytic converters are placed on the underside of cars and have large surface areas so that they can speed up reactions that make harmful chemicals into less harmful chemicals. Carbon monoxide is often confused with Carbon dioxide, a less harmful gas, but, using a catalytic converter we can fully combust it through oxidation. When fully oxidised, it is Carbon dioxide.

Formulas:

2 of 6

Hydrocarbon and Octane

What is it? Hydrocarbon occurs in two places. The Hydrocarbon, Octane (made from hydrogen and carbon) combusts in a car engine with oxygen to make two common products: Carbon dioxide  and water. However, our second occurrence is when some Hydrocarbons remain unburnt or non-combusted.

Hazard: Combusted octane causes pollution (13% of total UK Carbon dioxide emissions) but our main problem is unburnt Hydrocarbons, which when breathed in, can cause an increase in the risk of getting cancer and makes asthma and chest infections worse.

Risk: The risk increases for everybody when cars don't have a catalytic converter but is generally much higher for people who live in very industrialised or populated areas such as cities, the risk of course, increasingly affects those with lung problems.

Solution: Catalytic converters are placed on the underside of cars and have large surface areas so that they can speed up reactions that make harmful chemicals into less harmful chemicals. For example, on the surface of the converter, Hydrocarbons are oxidised, or react with oxygen, to form Carbon dioxide and water. (a similar process as the combustion of octane)

Formulas:

3 of 6

Particulates and Pollutants

What is it? Particulates are tiny pieces of solid 100nm across that come out of car exhausts, Pollutants are the generalisation of gases that come out of cars such as Oxides of Nitrogen or Carbon monoxide/dioxide. 

Hazard: Particulates are seen as smoke or soot and cause global dimming as well as being harmful when breathed in causing lung problems and potentially heart attacks. Pollutants, on the other hand, cause global warming and are sometimes poisonous if breathed in in large amounts.

Risk: The risk increases for everybody when cars don't have a catalytic converter but is generally much higher for people who live in very industrialised or populated areas such as cities. 

Solution: Catalytic converters are placed on the underside of cars and have large surface areas so that they can speed up reactions that make harmful chemicals into less harmful chemicals. Pollutants and Particulates both use catalytic converters to change gases and solids into less harmful chemicals, this is through decomposition and oxidation.

4 of 6

Catalytic Converters

What is it? Catalytic converters are placed on the underside of cars and have large surface areas so that they can speed up reactions that make harmful chemicals into less harmful chemicals. They do this through oxidation and decomposition usually to either convert chemicals into their original elements or oxidise them to produce Carbon dioxide and water.

Hazard: The problem is, Catalytic converters are made of some of the most valuable metals in the world (platinum, rhodium and palladium) and so are sometimes stolen off the bottom of cars which means that all the harmful pollutants and particulates escape. Also, converters are not fool proof, they mostly convert chemicals into Carbon Dioxide which is not great for the planet and still causes global warming.

Risk: The risk increases for everybody when cars don't have a catalytic converter but is generally much higher for people who live in very industrialised or populated areas such as cities.

Solution: At the moment there is not really a solution other than using cars less or using electric hybrid cars.

Where from? Platinum and pallidum are found naturally or though are rare, but rhenium is partly dug but also partly recycled. (2 tonnes per year) None are particularly reactive.

5 of 6

New Fuels, New engines

Petrol and diesel come from crude oil which is non-renewable, it is used quicker than it can be replaced. They are also bad fro the environment so people have begun to search for new fuels.

Hydrogen: We can use Hydrogen in two different ways, we can burn it instead of petrol or we can react it with oxygen to generate electricity that powers a motor. Hydrogen has one harmless waste product: water. However, Hydrogen is difficult to store and there aren't many Hydrogen stations. Hydrogen doesn't occur naturally and there are two formulas to manufacture it.

Biofuels: Biofuels are made from animal and plant waste and renewable (easily replaceable). All biofuels are mixtures of compounds, they burn to make carbon dioxide and water. Some people says this makes them carbon neutral. This means that when the plants grow they take the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere as they put it back when they burn. However, farmers use petrol/diesel tractors and fertilisers so they are not really carbon neutral.

Hybrid Electric: A hybrid electric car has two engines: a normal engine and a battery, the control switches at different speeds. Hybrid electric cars combine features of electric cars and petrol cars. Ther are two main types of engines; series and parallel. Because it is part electric it uses less fuel than a petrol car and also has regenerative brakes which means heat from braking recharges the battery. However nickel-metal batteries can cause cancer so they are making a lithium-ion battery.

6 of 6

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Chemistry resources:

See all Chemistry resources »See all Nanoscience resources »