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How to identify precious metal catalysts in an automobile?

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The first thought is the best model with the best engine capacity when you think of automobiles. But have you ever thought that these vehicles include precious metals? Although used for years, most are unaware of the precious metal content used in cars. But a closer look at its build reveals the prominent usage. Gas or diesel-powered vehicle includes gold prominently found in printed circuit boards.

You also find different types of precious metal catalyst converters in almost all motor vehicles. They filter out the toxic gas emissions and contribute to a cleaner environment. The same applies to gas-electric hybrid automobiles. Even if you use a fully electric model, it is a good source of platinum group metals in its circuitry. Since you know the prominence, here are other ways to identify them:

By presence

Once you know the type of precious metals present, identification becomes easy. Steel, fibreglass, and rubber are commonly recognised components. But you also find substantial precious metals in cars. Their presence is mainly in circuit boards and catalyst converters. Here are some examples of them:

  1. Platinum: This gets used as a component in catalytic converters. It is the most efficient material for changing toxic emissions into less harmful substances to the environment. The catalyst used is a ceramic material typically lining with a layer of platinum. The amount depends on the engine placement, car size, and retail price.
  2. Palladium: It is an alternative to platinum for saving costs. Automobile manufacturers use it for lining catalysts in various degrees. As they are removable from four-wheelers easily, they also serve as an excellent source to recycle through precious metal refiners. They are reusable in lap equipment, electrodes, designer jewellery, electric fuel cells, etc.
  3. Silver and gold: An exciting feature in most automobiles today is computers' usage. These monitor the engine performance, automate switches, control onboard navigation, etc. As they include circuit boards, they have some silver and gold as components.

By intuition: Coming to identification, your senses are enough to detect them. Here is how:

  1. Sight: Platinum, gold, and silver have a specific appearance even if they get tarnished. Hence, check them closely to make the judgement.
  2. Smell: Besides platinum, other metals emit odours that help with identification. For instance, a pile of tarnished silvers has a chalky aroma. Use your senses to test this while looking for precious metal content.
  3. Taste: Although an unimaginable method, tasting is also a method for detecting precious metals. Silver and platinum, for example, have a sour taste in the tarnished state.

Once you identify precious metal contents in vehicles, detecting their presence in other areas like electrical circuits and nitro technology manufacturers products becomes easier.



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