Experimental and Modeling Evaluations of a Vacuum-Insulated Catalytic Converter
Vehicle evaluations and model calculations were conducted on a vacuum-insulated catalytic converter (VICC). This converter uses vacuum and a eutectic PCM (phase-change material) to prolong the temperature cool-down time and hence, may keep the converter above catalyst light-off between starts. Tailpipe emissions from a 1992 Tier 0 5.2L van were evaluated after 3hr, 12hr, and 24hr soak periods. After a 12hr soak the HC emissions were reduced by about 55% over the baseline HC emissions; after a 24hr soak the device did not exhibit any benefit in light-off compared to a conventional converter. Cool-down characteristics of this VICC indicated that the catalyst mid-bed temperature was about 180°C after 24hrs. Model calculations of the temperature warm-up were conducted on a VICC converter. Different warm-up profiles within the converter were predicted depending on the initial temperature of the device.