How Much Rhodium is In a Catalytic Converter?

Rhodium is an extremely rare metal that is frequently used in catalytic converters. Catalytic converters are vital for lowering vehicle emissions, and they include trace quantities of rhodium to aid in this process. Rhodium is a desirable metal that may be quite valuable when scrapped.

In this blog article, we’ll talk about how much rhodium is in catalytic converters and how much it’s worth on the scrap market. We will also investigate if rhodium can be extracted from ancient catalytic converters.

What Kinds Of Precious Metals Are Found In Catalytic Converters, And Why Are They There?

Precious metals are frequently used as catalysts because they may accelerate chemical processes while staying chemically stable. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are the three most frequent precious metals used in catalytic converters.

What Exactly Is Rhodium?

How Much Rhodium is In a Catalytic Converter?

Rhodium (Rh) is a chemical element with the atomic number 45 and an atomic weight (average mass of an atom) of 102.90550. It is one of six platinum group metals (PGM), along with ruthenium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum. William Hyde Wollaston discovered the metal in 1803 and called it for the hue of one of its chlorine derivatives.

Rhodium is a silver-white metallic element that is highly reflective, long-lasting, and corrosion-resistant. It has a greater melting point and lower density than platinum, and under typical conditions, including heat, it does not produce oxide. Rhodium is almost never used alone and is nearly always combined with other metallic components.

What Exactly Is A Catalytic Converter?

How Much Rhodium is In a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters are meant to purify vehicle emissions by initiating a redox process that converts hazardous toxins and pollutants into less-toxic pollutants. Nitrogen oxide in the exhaust gas is reduced when rhodium is combined with palladium and/or platinum. Rhodium is the most successful of the three precious metals for removing nitrogen oxides from the exhaust, with excellent effectiveness at also removing hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The typical lifespan of a catalytic converter is 200,000 miles.

How Much Rhodium Is In A Catalytic Converter In Grams?

The amount of rhodium in a catalytic converter is determined by the kind of car and its age. Catalytic converters for gasoline-powered vehicles include platinum, rhodium, and palladium, whereas diesel-powered vehicle catalytic converters only contain rhodium and platinum.

On average, the amount of PGMs in grams found in a catalytic converter:

  • Cars = 2-6 grams 
  • Light-duty trucks = 2-6 grams 
  • Motorcycles = 2-6 grams 
  • Larger-engine SUVs = 6-30 grams
  • Trucks =  6-30 grams

You might be asking how much rhodium is in those PGMs. The quantity of rhodium in a catalytic converter is typically 1-2 grams, whereas the amount of platinum goes from 3 to 7 grams and the amount of palladium ranges from 2 to 7 grams.

What Is The Value Of Rhodium Per Gram Or Per Ounce?

As of 2022, the value of rhodium per gram is around $544.12, or almost $16,000 per ounce. As a result, it is one of the most costly precious metals. The high price is owing to its scarcity and one-of-a-kind features. Rhodium is a corrosion-resistant metal with a very high melting point.

Rhodium’s high price is also owing to its scarcity. This metal is exclusively produced in a few mines, most of which are in South Africa. This indicates that supply is extremely limited, and prices are expected to climb more in the future.

Which Catalytic Converters Have The Highest Rhodium Material?

Catalytic converters with the highest rhodium content are often built for big engines or autos with several catalytic converters. These automobiles are often higher-end, which means they contain more rhodium because of the manufacturer’s strict requirements. Furthermore, larger catalytic converters will require more rhodium to ensure that fumes are efficiently cleansed.

The pricing is the key to determining if a catalytic converter includes more rhodium. Because rhodium is expensive, most cars with pricey catalytic converters will have additional rhodium in them.

What Vehicles Have The Most Expensive Catalytic Converters?

This may not come as a surprise, the most expensive catalytic converters are often found in higher-end vehicles. 

Vehicles with expensive catalytic converters include:

  • Toyota Prius 
  • Ferrari F430
  • Ford F-250
  • Lamborghini 
  • Ford Mustang 
  • Dodge Ram 2500 
  • Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe 63

Most of these vehicles have massive engines, which require extra catalytic converters making the value double. 

Is It Possible to Recover the Value of an Old Catalytic Converter?

There are several reasons why individuals use scrap catalytic converters to recover the value of the precious metals contained therein. Even a simple catalytic converter may be quite valuable.

Another reason people discard catalytic converters is the ease with which valuable metals may be extracted. You can do it yourself if you have some basic tools and ingredients. This makes it an excellent alternative for anyone looking to supplement their income.

So, if you have an old catalytic converter lying around, don’t toss it! You could be standing in a gold mine. Get rid of it and appreciate the benefits!

How to Get Rhodium Out Of a Catalytic Converter?

If you have a used cat converter and are asking how to obtain rhodium out of a catalytic converter, proceed with caution.

  • Take out the cat converter: First and foremost, prepare your safety equipment, such as heavy-duty hand gloves and protective eyewear, before beginning the work.

After that, go beneath your vehicle, undo the cat converter bolts, and remove it. A flame cutter can also be used to detach the cat from the location where it is installed under the car.

  • Remove the honeycomb-like section: Once you’ve located the component, use the cutter to separate the honeycomb-like structure that houses the metals in the catalytic converter.
  • Cut the platinum: To avoid injury, make sure to cut the component gently. Then, using a pair of box cutters or your hands, remove the platinum.
  • Break the platinum: Once you have the platinum, use a rod mill to carefully smash it to powder. The final result should be roughly -70 mesh. Then, gather a variety of substances to aid in the chemical procedure.
  • Make an aqua regia solution: Nitric acid and hydrochloric acid make up the aqua regia combination. Make sure to thoroughly mix the solution before charging the Regia to a reactor. The system should then be heated to the required temperature. When it reaches a certain stable value, add the metal powder to the reactor.

After that, at atmospheric pressure, stir the reactant mixture at 700 rpm. The leachate is then collected using a pipet at regular intervals and filtered to get rhodium.

Please keep in mind that this is a job for professionals. As a result, contact a local scrap metal yard to assist in recovering the rhodium from your old catalytic converter.

Conclusion

Rhodium is a valuable chemical element that aids in the removal of pollutants from automotive exhaust. Its demand and worth are growing as pollution limitations tighten and become more stringent. While rhodium is incredibly effective, its high price and rarity have contributed to undesirable conditions such as catalytic converter theft.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What holds the most rhodium?

The Ural Mountain in South Africa, Russia, and Canada has the highest concentration of rhodium in the world. South Africa, in particular, is the world’s leading producer of rhodium, accounting for around 81% of worldwide exports as of 2020.

How much does a gram of rhodium cost?

As of August 2022, a gram of rhodium costs roughly $544.48. Rhodium and other precious metals’ values are likely to fluctuate owing to price volatility in the metal exchange market. In any event, high-level variations outnumber low-level oscillations in the metals.