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Chemistry in Action!

Chemistry is all around us and is even happening as you read this sentence!

  • Year 10 catalytic converter model

In fact it is the rapid chemical reactions inside the retina which enable you see the text of this article. 

Year 10 students have been investigating the effects of our inexhaustible fondness of cars with respect to catalytic converters and their role in reducing pollution.  

Catalytic converters are now an essential part of any car, but what do they do? 

Catalytic converters contain the metals Palladium, Rhodium & Platinium (I am reliably informed these metals have increase their value considerably on the stock market in the past decade). These metals catalyze the conversion of Nitric monoxide (NO) and Carbon monoxide (CO) into nitrogen & carbon dioxide respectively. The air we breather is almost 80% nitrogen and it is chemically very stable. The carbon dioxide can be used by plants in photosynthesis.

The catalytic converter model in the picture above was built by Year 10 student Matylda Sano

Another example in the application of chemical ideas to produce environmentally friendly solutions!


Susan John

Head of Chemistry