[Noisebridge-discuss] chemistry - extracting platinum from cat alytic converter "honeycomb" - how?

Joel Jaeggli joelja at bogus.com
Sun Jan 23 04:57:40 UTC 2011

On 1/22/11 7:33 PM, Patrick Keys wrote:
> anybody know how to extract the platinum from a catalytic converter 
> "honeycomb"?  california emission standards require special catalytic 
> converters that have (theoretically) between .1 ounces and .2 ounces of 

in a car it's like 3 grams or less which is at the bottom end of your

> platinum.  the platinum "honeycomb" is the catalyst that burns the 
> emissions to meet the high california emission standards.
> long story short, i had to get a new catalytic converter.  usually, the 
> place you buy the new catalytic converter requires you give them the old 
> one to off-set the high cost of the rare earth elements.  california law 
> requires deep engraving of giant special serial numbers on all new 
> catalytic converters to track which ones have been tested as "california 
> approved".  i was able to keep the old one because the previous one was 
> bought out of state.
> if anybody knows how to get the platinum from the old catalytic 
> converter, I'll bring it up to noisebridge.  we can make a video and put 
> it on youtube.

aqua regia will disolve platnium group metals  at which point ammonium
chloride will precipitate it. but I wouldn't recomend doing that at
noisebridige at least not with a quantity of acid necessary to submerge
a catalyst.

the commercial process uses cyanide leaching.

> Here's another video I found that explains the value of platinum in 
> catalytic converters (seriously):
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyfpuj4nOEI
> Patrick
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