HOW TO RECOVER PLATINUM FROM CATALYTIC CONVERTERS, page 6
A discussion started in 2004 & continuing through 2017 -- add your Q to bring it back to the Hot Topics page.March 12, 2010
Wow. I can't believe I read the WHOLE thing. Got so involved I actually forgot how I got here. Had to backtrack to an ad on our Craigslist, someone offering to "buy" cats. This can be looked upon 2 ways---either the guy is legit, offering a venue for people to get a little more for there junk vehicle before the salvage yard gets it---or there are still people out there willing to crawl under cars in the middle of the night to feed their habits (and people willing to pay them to do it).
In fairness it could be said that the economy is now so bad that some may take up the trade to feed mouths, not habits, but inversely they would still be taking it out of another's mouth. I notice child abuse was up 12% here in IA last year, my guess is theft of cats will also see a comeback as frustration grows.
MY ANALYSIS: I'm thinking I'll stick to planting a garden in the spring and riding a bicycle----just hope nobody cuts my gut out looking for little ceramic balls of quicksilver.
MY VOTE: 55 GALLON DRUM METHOD forget about anything beyond mechanical extraction.
WORD OF WISDOM: Those who write about cats on these walls....Roll there words in little ceramic balls...
Those who read these words of wit....EAT THOSE LITTLE CERAMIC BALLS OF SLAG!
- Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA
March 26, 2010
hey another way that I have found is to use something similar to the gold refining process if you use aqua regia aka nitric and hydrochloric acid mixed it will make clora platonic acid I believe is the name and then from there you can revert the acid back to pure platinum dust witch accumulates at the bottom as a dust you then filter and wash at the very least five times with warm or hot water you then have at least 99.9% pure platinum of course you must then use an induction heater to melt it down and the only one that I can think of is right now that is easy to build is ZVS circuit ( zero voltage/current switching) its easy to build but I don't know if it has the ability to get to platinum melting tempsjohn michael
- orange park Florida united states
April 7, 2010
I read all of the threads. Some had more meaning than others. Some had humor like, How to extract precious metals from cats. Like a tree in the back yard, a rope and the neighborhood Kids and a couple steel pipes. Now that was funny. But seriously. I too was doing a little research online about precious metals when I stumbled on to this site, and I to have to agree with a lot of these threads, that if one thinks that you can separate the metals with a torch like Oxyacetylene is like melting a tuna can with a Bic lighter. It can't be done.
I worked in the scrap metal business 10 years ago and from time to time hauled what is none as Frag, heavy melt meaning steel beams to the smelting plants in Indiana and in Illinois. Now knowing how to melt down steel, is it takes a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a whole lot of other things to make it pure steel and what's involved in that process is like trying to put a Big Mac in a Happy meal.
Now I'm living in Wyoming and have a close friend that's in the auto salvage business and from time to time he has a gentleman come into buy his cats. Now I think back years ago about a salvage yard I'd work at and at that time we saved all cats in medium size container box's. When the buyer came by we unloaded the contents of the box's on the ground by sizes. Before loading them on his truck.
I once seen a check for $25,000 dollars and that was for the contents of one container box of cats, I just happened to ask the man, Wow that's a lot of money. He replied, for what I will get back that's a drop in the bucket so to speak.
Now it's been some years gone by and now like then every one has kept the golden rule of silence. That is in all these threads I read I did not once read as to where to take the spoils. Meaning, Refinery if any, How come!
Is it because of like back then the golden rule of silence still applies and mums the word to this day. Or what!
I look forward to visiting this site again in the future.
I hope the next time I read these threads that some one might be kind hearted enough to say as to were one might be able to take there spoils to,That is if they had a lot of them. As for some of the threads I read that some only had one or two. But I'm talking in large numbers.
- Rozet, Wyoming
April 7, 2010
Hi, Mike. Please look on Craigslist, or Google, or eBay. It's not that we are sworn to silence, it's that as soon as we open a thread to commercial responses, everything else is buried under the spam. This public forum has managed to remain online for 16 years,, and it's largely because we don't let people benefit commercially from postings. We could swamp the threads with spam overnight. Sorry but we simply can't be Craigslist or Ebay or Google -- we don't have one thousandth of the necessary horsepower.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 18, 2010
Well, I figured I shall start with two different topics, First is thanking two people. Ted, the way you run these forums is exceptional, I really enjoy your calm responses to some arrogant people. I don't think personally I would be able to do it.
Also, Thomas from Sarasota, WOW, your way of thinking is incredibly fascinating, like I am going to be there in May, and I was like jeez I hope there will be intelligent people to have deep conversations, because Tennessee its hard finding deep and free-thinking people.
On my next note, I would like to tell you all a little about myself, I'm 19. I was searching for two things when I got online today, first is how someone could easily sell stolen gold, because I had all of my family heirlooms stolen from me and my handicap dad who lives with me, and my friend telling me about plat in CC's. And since I have to support an older but great father, I figured I would look into the CC idea so maybe I could gain a little extra money after me losing my job. I was a marketer/sale's rep who traveled coast 2 coast, but things happen and you have other obligations in life, where you must choose, family or career.
Sadly, I am infuriated at the fact, that people are scared too post what CC's are good to buy. Because people will go steal them. That is an arrogant notion of people in America, because 2% are incompetent the rest are punished...... I started reading this because I had hopes that some one would post what cars would be best to go get cc's and then find a company who buys them for refining purposes. As I said previously I'm a marketer and networker, not a mechanic or chemist, but in everything I have seen in life, and for my age I would say I have seen a lot, and am well versed in the language of american society. So I figured, well Networking is one of my favorite things, and I am granted with off the chart social skills, so I figured well, find out what kind of CC's too look for, talk to friends who work in areas that come across people selling junk cars, or used parts, and then be a middle man. Except there is one thing I can't find, THE LIST OF CARS! It would seem I'm limited in the aspect that people are too scared of losing profit or theft for advancement in human techno-evolution, this is why I liked thomas's post, People who are secretive do make the most profit, obviously so, but we lose out on advancement of society, and makes our world more like the movie Idiocracy if anything. Why not post a list of cars? Most states require a title, or you must wait a given amount of time to receive payment on the converters if you sell too a scrap yard. So theft isn't as much of an option, its a pointless endeavor for the lowest of the low scum of the earth. So, the only option left must be that people want to keep people out of this business so they can keep everyone from getting by. I guess it sucks that greed rules this country. I would never have imagined that everyone who was once barely getting by, and they start getting up would be power hungry and greedy. All I have to say, is I figured I'd keep my karma good, when I got up, I brought everyone around me up, and helped them. In hopes when and if I fell I would have people around me to keep me afloat, and that's how I get by now. the business relationships and personal ones I developed have kept me and my dad in a house, with food, and utilities, and now they are buying me a car so I can get back to my life, since someone angry at my dad for calling the police on them because he was in fear for his life, cut the radiator hose and some other hoses I do not know what they are at this time. I just am not the type of man who lives off someone else's gratitude. I like to work. maybe not hard labor, but use my skills for a better purpose, then sitting around on forums, and teaching kids how to pick up chicks. All I have to say is, If you guys could be generous and think of others, put out a list.
Like En: Datsun/Nissan 70-93
not even being super specific, just making it better so I don't go out and waste my time, hell. if you do things on a larger scale, I could ship them too u, with bills of sale for every cat I buy so you never would have to worry about me being a thief.
It's just I see older cars being parted out, 24/7, people selling muffler and cc for 10 bux. on cars that look bonestock, not even knowing the cats may be worth something. So I was hoping I could make a small profit, just like an extra 600 a month or so, just so I can get by a little better, and maybe take my dad out too eat like I used to, and possibly start my own business that I have been wanting, but do not have a dime for start up cost. and a loan isn't an option. and if this stuff actually pays off, well awesome, if not. I'm sure I'll have at least made a little money off it.
See, my idea was hopefully getting the cats, and just selling the guts, and just getting rid of the cats core too a scrap yard, and finding a company who wanted too do the refining process or something. I figured that would be the best route, I am not trying to undercut you guys in your ingot industry, I'm a marketer, not a wall street man. Nor, am I planning to start anything related to the pt industry.
Well, I hope all of you enjoy this post, and have something too think about, now that I tried to get a little help from some of you guys. I really enjoyed reading this thread, it is my first ever on this site, and certainly not my last, if there are threads like this, well I can see me on here in the future.
Just consider the list people.
because things here are cheap, and I could use the money, just like many of you guys can, or in the past could have used also.
Thank you For your Time! :)
If you guys would like to contact me through email, that would be acceptable too. But letting the world know would be a much better thing! But, if information shared with me you ask not too be disclosed, I will abide by that notion, because I'm an honest person. and I give my word on my dad, and my marketing experience, and possibly you would have the word of many exec's who would vouch for me, my word is never broken.
- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
April 19, 2010
Hi, Joe. Good luck. Please use ebay, Craigslist, or a google search to locate the people you are seeking. Apologies, but this site does not put people into private contact with each other. Sorry!
Similarly, we try to avoid reference to company names because experience has repeatedly proven that as soon as a company name is mentioned, their competitors feel the need to post a glowing testimonial to themselves, the race to the bottom is on, and the thread dissolves to spam :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 19, 2010
I have over 1000 CC cut from salvaged autos over the past couple of years. I had thoughts of selling them raw, have heard it might be against the law to process them in the US. This thread leads me to believe it is not. GREAT! I will begin reading up, and it sounds like the time I'm done study the "ART of CCs" I should have another thousand or so. Hope the PRICES stay up? I been told to keep the content separate due to the difference in amount and type of metals, Gas and Diesel big differences.
Keep posting and I'll keep reading
- Midland, Texas
June 8, 2010
Just wondering if anyone could give me some info. What would be an approx. weight of a solid block of Platinum with the dimensions of 3" x 1" x 1".terrill booth
- riverside, California USA
June 9, 2010
Hi, Terrill. Platinum weighs 21.45 grams per cubic centimeter. There are 16.387 cubic centimeters to a cubic inch. Your block of platinum is 3 cubic inches. There are 31.10 grams to a troy ounce. So, at today's spot price of $1533 per troy ounce, your block would be valued at $51,980.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 24, 2010
First I'll just say this, I am a chemist. to a point I am NOT a metallurgist and have limit knowledge of the subject. that being said, and with regard to obfuscating for the uninitiated, it seems to me that one could with some difficulty dissolve the platinum/ceramic guts in conc. nitric and judiciously precipitate with some heavy metal ion. beyond that apply tremendous tremendous amounts of heat to the precipitate and go to the bank.
clearly I haven't gone so far as putting pencil to paper on this but it seems to me that it could be a lucrative opportunity for someone with a skill set in place to mitigate the very real (and potentially lethal) risks involved. Any thoughts on a response on this thread will be greatly appreciated.
*-*-*-* THIS IS NOT TO BE TRIED BY ANYONE FOLLOWING THIS POST ALONE...YOU WILL NOT GET PLATINUM WITHOUT RESPECTING THE CHEMISTRY AND FOLLOWING MY THOUGHT PROCESS WITHOUT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE MATERIALS INVOLVED COULD AND WOULD CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY AND/OR DEATH...PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH *-*-*-*
- Dallas, Texas, US
August 11, 2010
Can anyone give an estimate of what a pound of slurry collected in the early 80's is worth.
Got it legally by the way.
manufacturer - Mobile, Alabama
September 3, 2010
Cry.... " There be 'Gold'in them thar hills" or in this case Platinum in them there Catalytic Converters....and there is a rush on to find out how it's done or how to get it. Yup, every one gets rich in a gold rush. And for some it is a conspiracy because they are too ignorant or plain stupid to understand how complicated and dangerous to body and environment it is to extract it.
I found it here 'cause I was looking for a reason why my Ford is acting up. Another waste of 30 minutes of my life surfing the web :) :)
- Brisbane, Queensland; Australia
September 29, 2010
These are great questions about catalytic converters and platinum. Maybe you should take a look at www.scrapcatalyticconverter.comDave smith
- Redondo Beach, California USA
December 22, 2010
what does the extracted metal look likeron green
curious - athens Alabama
January 14, 2011
I would like to thank Ted first of all for supplying this lovely little trough of information. Being a web designer I know what is like to have to deal with internet hooligans.
Secondly - I as I just mentioned I'm a web designer by trade -but I have started my own side project with recycling cars & metals. It has been a great revenue so far making something out of nothing is very rewarding.
What I would like to see/know - which no one has mentioned before - how exactly do you tell the difference between an OEM & After-Market Catalytic Converter?
Could someone muster up a photo of these 'beads' and these 'honey combs' you talk about - do they look just like a piece of screen?
So far with the cats I have cut off (Yes legally) they all just look like hollow metal chambers with a screen in them. I haven't done much with them but pile them up being as I don't know the difference yet. The last time I brought a couple the junkyard - the dubbah only wanted to give me $10 bucks for them - and he might have been honest (one came off an old GM Van & the other a new chevy geo) - but I don't trust backyard bob enough to keep doing business with him.
So if someone would please give me a few (Yes more than one please - no one liner is gonna help me learn anything) tips on how to distinguish between a factory original and a after-market cat.
Thank You all very much for your time spent here & input.
junk yard - Maine, USA
January 14, 2011
Hi, Justin. I'm not real familiar with the old-style ceramic bead catalytic converters, but photos are available at www.sellyourcatsdirect.com/Loose_Beads_Pellets_secure.html and green.autoblog.com/2006/11/28/thieves-target-catalytic-converters-for-precious-metals/. I did an engineering project at a factory that built the newer honeycomb style converters (still a long long time ago), and pictures of them are all over the net, including maidenresources.com/Recycling.html. There is a great video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmtFp-SV0tY
I think, but don't know, that an aftermarket converter would have less precious metals soaked into the honeycomb; but I don't know how to tell the difference.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 25, 2011
this is all very dangerous - as Ted has warned. responsible use of my daughters' WalMart-purchased fairy wands is all I've ever needed to recover and refine all of the good stuff in cat convs. in His holy name we pray, Ammen.Sal Benito
- Intercourse, Pennsylvania, USA
January 31, 2011
Thanks, Ted. Those who thoroughly "mined" this thread extracted the precious metal!Michelle Breeland
Metal Recycling Agent - Columbia, South Carolina
February 19, 2011
There are many different "cats" out there. OEM paying much more than an aftermarket due to the return in precious metals within. When looking at the inside of a cat you will see a few different styles. One style (most common) is something that looks like a honeycomb. Another, is swirly looking which is called a foil (lesser in value depending on size). The bead cats are a bunch of bb looking ceramic balls. When you shake the cat you can hear them (if the beads are still inside). Another type of cat is a diesel which typically pay less (there are exceptions).
As for determining an aftermarket cat, they generally have a "cheap" look to them. They also tend to weigh less than their oem counterpart. Typically a "full" aftermarket cat will pay out between $7 and $10.
Now, determining if a cat is "full". Basically the material inside will run from one end to the other, starting and ending from a tapered point in the cat (kind of difficult to explain).
Also I believe Ted mentioned earlier that the metal surrounding the cat is stainless. In some cats that's true but that's not always the case.
- Wallingford, Connecticut USA
March 8, 2011
we recover platinum and palladium at first, and after we check for rhodium. if it have, we recover rhodium in this case.
we use HCl base for platinum and palladium recovery. and we developed very new reaction for rhodium. we recover rhodium in HCl solution base as Pt recovery. this reaction takes 2 x 6 hours (6 hours for platinum and 6 hours for rhodium).
we recommend 50 kg capacity leach tanks for all reaction.
hydraulic cutting machine
miller with ball
a refining machine for separate all PGM it is (you can use 4 leach tanks with this machine)
leach tank for Pt and Pd for 50 kg capacity
leach tank for Rh for 50 kg capacity
you can add new leach tank every your need 50 kg capacity.
- Istanbul Turkey
March 27, 2011
To those of you who say it is difficult and dangerous to extract the platinum I say Good. I hope the scumbags who stole the cat. converter from my 12 year old Land Rover leaving me in a country area with no shops, no transport and a vehicle that my insurance company will write off, despite its otherwise immaculate condition because the expense is more than the vehicle is worth, I hope something seriously nasty happens to them and the scumbag who bought it knowing , no doubt, that it was stolen. Thanks a bunch for putting the details of how to extract the platinum on line. That's really helpful to other thieving scumbags.julia [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
April , 2011
Hi, Julia. I am very sorry for your hardship and that such thieving scum made life so difficult for you!
But all knowledge can be misappropriated toward evil; we can't tell doctors to stop recycling organs just because a black market developed. As I said earlier, please don't demand that I jackhammer the church steps away on the presumption that anyone climbing them must be on their way to robbing the poor box. It is important that precious metals be recycled, not landfilled -- but it should be done by licensed, regulated concerns.
Best wishes that the thieves be found.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 2, 2011
This link should tell you everything you need to know: www.gold-refining.org/catalytic-converter-recycling-t74.htmlchris hampton
- jackson ohio usa
April 3, 2011
Hi, Chris. I don't think it tells people everything they need to know, but it is a very interesting paper and does suggest that HCl plus hydrogen peroxide can do approximately the same job as aqua regia with less environmental impact. Thanks!
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 28, 2011
Platinum, Palladium, and gold can all be dissolved from catalytic converters by grinding them into dust and dissolving the metals with ample amounts of Aqua Regia which readily dissolves noble metals.
Recovering the metals is done through reduction and using some google searching and some basic chemistry will allow an almost average but profitable recovery of the metals.
- Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
May 9, 2011
I have been an auto tech for the better part of my life, I cashed in a cat today, as I have done many times. I stumbled across this wonderful site, wondering what my cat was worth, thinking I might have not got enough. It's funny how you go to a recycler, they tell you how much it's worth, but there is no way of ever finding out for yourself if what they are saying is true?
anywho, I have had to put cats in peoples cars that have been stolen, I have seen scrappers steal them right out from companies noses, or give the company 20 bucks for them. mechanics walk off with burned out ones. I have seen people get fired over taking them, because that money belongs to the store owner?
It seems like every time someone sees a cat they get all starry eyed, and wonder how they can run away with it, like it is the famaly jewels or something. one time I put an O.E. cat in a toyota, that a customer brought in, brand new in the box. and a mechanic from toyota came in, all dressed up in his toyota gear, and said he came in to return the core? of course my stupid store manager gave it to him, and of course there was no core?
for all this stuff going on with cats it is my firm belief that a cat is the work of the devil! as far as I am concerned, unless you are an actual miner of precious metals, all cats, unregistered platinum, or palladium, or rhodium, should be confiscated to the federal government, recycled, and sent right back to car manufacturers for reproduction of catalytic converters, and production of aftermarket converters should also be banned, unless they meet or exceed factory specifications! why? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WORK THE WAY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO! AND THAT'S WHY THEY ARE CHEAP! only one person here had a good idea. if you want precious metals, take up panning for gold. In my profession I have learned to never trust a recycler, when it comes to cashing in cats. and never ever, under any circumstances, EVER trust a scrapper! It is kinda cool trying to figure out how to get the metal out, and harmful, and dangerous. it should also be ILLEGAL!Rick Terlinde
- Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
July 25, 2011
Go to sdmines.sdsmt.edu/sdsmt/SiteID=199458 then do the math. Someone said buy low sell high. I say buy low and sell very very high. Its works for me.Dennis King
- Ararat, Virginia
July 25, 2011
Hi, Dennis. As long as "buy low" means buy low from legitimate sources, with a copy of a bill of sale and VIN number for each convertor, that sounds good :-)
The first paragraph of that article says:
"Any "doubting Thomas" who questions the value of spending funds on scientific research obviously hasn't heard about research results at SDSM&T showing that junk car parts can be recycled into platinum. Two SDSM&T researchers have developed a patented process . . ."
Call me a doubting Thomas. A grant of public money paid for the research, so I think the treasury of South Dakota should get the patent rights rather than these researchers who apparently got free state money and now will get the profits without even having to repay? :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 16, 2011
Good day Ted. Before I decided to comment, I made sure that I read ALL of the material presented here. I am both amused and concerned. The letters asking for instructions on how to separate their material have been given such, but for some reason that is not enough, that leads to one conclusion...... there is going to be a fatality. It would seem that these writers have bought the "boat" yet have not decided what size vehicle to tow it with, where they are going to dock it,safety inspection, life preservers etc, etc.
I'm 36, work maintenance and have an engineering background for one of the world's largest precious metal refineries. I, too, once had the bug but soon realized how many portions of the process had to be controlled. During a pilot run, when we changed to a larger reactor, just an increase in surface area changed our results to an undesirable material.
While I'm an advocate for novice tinkering, I am against someone with total disregard for safety. If you're going to do so, do it with proper knowledge, and if possible, with someone who has done it before. DO NOT DO THIS IN YOUR BASEMENT. And most of all, DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you do your research, you will find that there may be more Palladium than anything, which itself is worth something.
What has happened here is that these people have heard "something", just a grain of the whole picture and through their own thought process have concluded, without research, that someone will tell them how to separate nobel metals with acids, chlorine gas, hydrogen peroxide, etc., etc. And on top of that, how to do it in something other than a glass lined reactor without ventilation or a scrubber system. Folks... this is a Commercial Finishing forum, and most things, especially electronics, are plated in the micron scale. Soooo, if a computer part is plated in the one millionth of an inch, its going to take an awful lot of material to have a cubic inch worth. Its not impossible to do, however it must be done in controlled steps with all the necessary precautions in place. If you have the time and capital to it, the go ahead. Like I said before, I once had the bug, but weighed the effort vs results....I do not have the time, equipment, or stream to make something profitable. Goldrefining.com forum may help for the educated person attempting, but not for the person that already went out and bought cats, computer boards and THEN said..... ok, tell me how to cook this stuff down.
Thank you Ted, I now know where to come when I am faced with finishing questions, other than the cat page, I have found everything informative. Keep up the good work!!!
PS. Just an example of "forward thinking", how does on plan to move a 55 gallon drum full of something plated in platinum. I know how much a drum 1/4 full weighs...
refining - south Jersey New Jersey
August 17, 2011
Wow, thank you so much for this website. I too just recently discovered that CCs have palladium and platinum in them and after searching about how to extract these metals, I came across your website.
As of now, I have read every post, comment and reply on pages 1 and 2 and will continue to read every single post, comment and reply on your site.
It does contain quite a lot of information.
- Elma, Washington USA
August 23, 2011
Nice discussion, and for so many years! I did skip a few pages, but here is my $0.02. The particles in the converters are only plated with platinum. I came across a site the other day, refiners offering $3.00 pound for honey comb and $2.00 pound for beads. How much platinum can possibly be in a converter. I forgot the name. Just search Google. Thanks all for a fun lunch hour.Chester Breder
- Egg Harbor City, South Jersey, USA
August 26, 2011
Hello my husband extracted the converter from our Cadillac and cleaned it out and recovered the honeycomb. I have been hearing that there Is platinum inside it but I don't know who to tell it to to get the most for money. I don't want to be taken; again he has the honeycomb that was inside the converter, any suggestions? One dealer said $10 a pound but he wasn't sure. I'm not sure if it's a pound or not and my husband isn't much help any suggestions?Likisha Gilliam
Converter holder - Niles mi united states
September 7, 2011
Look the best thing anyone who doesn't know what they're doing can do is read the regulations on the refinement of this grade of metal because you would have to know a lot about chemicals and the temperature they combust at and also what you would do if you blew up a half a city block.eric nolan
- richmond California
October 13, 2011
I cleaned out in insides of my wife's 94 Mustang cats this past week end, thought that was the problem. What I have left on the floor is broken honey comb, what looks to be some type of ceramic wool and a lot of gold colored beads and flakes. Why could I not just break down the honey comb and wool with water and mixing into a slurry and run it through a series of filters and retain the flakes and beads? Sell what's left for what ever or is just not worth it. I am retired, so I have a lot of time on my hands. Or do I just sweep it up and toss in trash?Mike Stout
- Celeste, Texas, United States
October 18, 2011
Thanks for all the info...I read every posting here. I was considering recovering metals from cats, but now I think I'll pass. My first thought was using electrolysis, but this seems to be a chemical project. As I am no chemist, this isn't for me. I like my garage and my body the way they are. Again, thanks for all the info.Steve Lightner
- Bakersfield, California, USA
October 30, 2011
Hi, I buy junk cars and have a guy who comes to me and buys my C.C. radiators alloy wheels etc.
I want to skip the middle man and go straight to the source. By doing this will I have to break down the c.c. myself. Or will the refineries buy them as a whole at a higher price then my middle man.
I recycles used cars - Fayetteville North Carolina
November 2, 2011
Approximately how many CC's does it take to fill a 55 gal drum with beads?Mike Trillo
- Yuba City, California, USA
November 4, 2011
I used aqua regia (Concentrated Nitric Acid and Hydrochloric Acid) many years ago in a well ventilated chemical hood with special filtration systems to dissolve metal from a special piece of glassware. It dissolves the metal, and gives off a brown gas that is very hazardous to you.
You should probably contact a few universities and ask if the metallurgy department and/or chemistry department could extract the precious metals for you and give you a comprehensive analysis report, etc. You could then obtain the report and ask them to send you the recovered precious metals.
You could then send the precious metals to another university and have them do an analysis and send you a report. Do not tell the 2nd university that you already had the metal(s) analyzed. That way, you have more confidence in the results.
M.I.T. and The Colorado School of Mines have great facilities to help you with your request. You could check other colleges such as CalTech.
You could ask them if they can refer you to reliable and legal precious metal recoverers.
After you get all this information, you could charge people 15 or 20 dollars for the information. Enough people could buy it to probably cover your cost.
It is best to share this information with people for a small fee as opposed to keeping the information to yourself and have novices try methods that might hurt or kill themselves or other people.
- Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
November 6, 2011
I've read all this discussion about buying/selling or recovering pgm. I actually was searching for procedures of recovery. Discarding the smelting process because of far too high temperatures required to melt platinum (i.e., vacuum graphite furnace!), all aqueous chemistry processes I've found here and all over the web are based on aqua regia or HCl+H2O2 for removing platinum from the ceramics in CC, but they use a lot of acid per gram of raw CC material and don't extract all the pgm in one step. So my idea is to:
1) dissolve the ceramics in a PTFE beaker with HF
2) recover the pgm left on the bottom of the beaker
3) dissolve in aqua regia the residue
4) selectively precipitate the platinum
What do you think about this?
- Rome, Lazio, Italy
November 15, 2011
I found these instructions for obtaining the precious metals from converters, I think I'll leave it to the experts.
Ceramic parts of catalytic converter are cut away from the exhaust.
The ceramic parts are ground in the ball bearing mill until they become like flour.
It is put into reaction with HCl in the leach tank, and platinum and palladium are dissolved in acid; acid is filtered and separated from the ceramic. Platinum and palladium dissolved in acid are precipitated and filtered; this platinum-palladium mixture is recycled separately as platinum and palladium.
If the ceramic contains rhodium, it is put into reaction with NaHSO4 in the fusion oven, and rhodium is transformed into RhSO4. RhSO4 is dissolved in water and so is separated from ceramic; the solution is filtered and taken away, and rhodium is recycled from this solution by precipitation.
List of necessary equipment:
Cutting scissors (hydraulic)
Ball bearing mill
Solid liquid filtration system
Fusion smoke filter
Oxygen propane system to melt platinum, palladium and rhodium.
- Hardeeville, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Ed. note: Please advise where you found these instructions, Kevin, so we can credit them. It may be best for us to include only a snippet and a link. Thanks.
November 28, 2011
For those of you who want to know where to sell your conv. Junk yards and scrap yards are not the place. Look for someone that buys cores. We have a local company that buys nothing but cores, e.g., radiators, cat conv., alternators, and so on. The least I have received for a converter is $50 bucks; just sold converters off 94 Grand Marquis, it has 4 small convertors @ 50 a pieceDoug Payne
- Tiffin, Ohio USA
November 28, 2011
This 3 year thread has done nothing but tickle me pink. Despite the fact that no one has said flat out "Don't do it," only voiced concerns of personal health and the extensive knowledge required to do it right, left and right hooks were thrown by those who are adamant that people don't study refinery because it's involved and precarious, only because they want to hide away the secret process of extracting rare metals from used car parts.
I stumbled across this thread as I just pulled the cat out of my Jetta and figured "What the hay? I just spent $270 on a replacement converter so even if I get $20 back I'll be happy!" When stumbling upon this forum (as Google redirected me here due to the use of "local scrap" and the inevitable allure of reading the rants of a public forum) I was taken aback by the avarice of those demanding to know how to extract platinum from a catalytic converter, and the misconception that this is a completely safe process no matter how you do it. Approximately 4 weeks ago I drank too heavily and "stumbled" into a bonfire. Hands first. Weeks later my blisters have healed and the skin on my fingers have begun to grow back. That was pretty warm and generally unpleasant and that wasn't even hot enough to melt the glass bottle we threw in, likely while loudly yelling some profanity that caused the elderly neighbors to drop to their knees and pray for our forgiveness. Smelting has been a process that's been around since before the Bronze Era and while we may have made it safer, I don't exactly want to be around something hot enough to cut through my flesh and bone. Using acid as an alternative? Even better! Splash a little on you and depending on the molarity you could start melting away clothing and skin before you have a chance to react. A few noxious fumes have never killed anyone either, right? I always wanted to sport a stylish breathing machine at work and by extracting my own platinum my dreams can become a reality.
If I had my choice between volatile chemicals, noxious fumes or intense heat, I'd probably just chuck the thing in the recycling bin and hope the garbageman didn't notice. As I have choices beyond that, though, I will be contacting my local scrap rep in the morning when they open for a quote. Will I get as much as they're going to sell it for? Definitely not. Will I lose valuable skin in the process? Hopefully not, but it would only be fitting that a catalytic converter be the catalyst for me getting a long overdue tetanus shot.
Ted - You're a stronger man than me. I would have been in hysterics years ago when the first skeptical comments of "the man's holding you back by hoarding all the metal" came into play. All in all, this was a fun read so I thank everyone who posted for allowing me to kill a portion of my day reading and writing.
- Hartford, Connecticut
Ed. note: Thanks for the kind words, George, but I'm not really a stronger man . . . I simply have the easy option of replying with an uncharitable rant and then, as editor, erasing it when my blood has stopped boiling :-)
November 30, 2011
I have to say you have answered my question. No it is not possible for an individual to profit further from a cat than to sell it to a trusted recycler. I am not a thief as some are painting. But yes I have and do make money from cats. I purchase scrap cars and strip them off the car with the car battery and brass radiators if they have one. One has to take well-given advice sometimes in life and this is one of them. I do have some information to add. You will not get a price list on cats that's worth a damn as like any other commodity it changes on a daily basis. No you should never remove the casing as this is the only way to identify one from another. If you want a fair price call around and give them the vehicle type and they will give a good idea provided its OEM. For you people that have a big pile of removed cores. Well, let's just say you just blew your nose on a pile of $100 bills and thew them in the trash. I receive on a regular basis between $105 and $120 for a bread loaf shaped GM cat. There are thousands of different shapes and sizes and some are big bucks and some aren't. I hope this was of some help.George Needham
- Lakefield, Ontario, Canada
December 10, 2011
Ted, & R. Allen TY for all your help and insightful posts. I've learned a lot by reading these treads. I was hoping to learn the answer to my question, but I haven't and I'm all the way back to May 2008. That, coincidentally, is also the month my cc was stolen by Toledo Police Dept. off of my [new] 2008 Chrysler Town and Country. The chief of police said the officers should have never towed my vehicle. The next morning I went to get it back from the impound lot and they didn't know what I was talking about. My car had never been logged in. It took me 3 days to get my car back.
FIRST QUESTION: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A CC [2500*] TO COOL OFF?
In June and [now Dec.] 2011, both my '96 [and now, my '98] Lincoln Town Cars have had the ccs stolen off of them. G*&^%%)!!!!
SECOND QUESTION: HOW DO I KEEP THESE MFs FROM STEALING MY CCs?
I hate loud cars!! But I must admit the improved gas mileage was a GREAT INCENTIVE not to report the stolen ccs right away. LOL In fact, the TPD may get away w/what they did because I refused to go back from 23/mpg to 6/mpg for a loooooooong time. LOL Why? Because I knew they/INS would make me replace that cc.
Finally, I was reading in the treads of how tired you two were w/answering/arguing the questions about how much the Platinum, etc is worth.
I refer you both to a little history. REMEMBER THE CA GOLD RUSH! RECALL HOW THE PEOPLE BEHAVED. Here we are dealing w/thieves. But believing they would soon be wealthy the CA gold rushers could not stop believing it either. I am a Pharmacist/Chemist. I read the recipe and understood a lot of it. But I'm not greedy, nor a thief, nor a car mechanic, so the formula really didn't interest me. And I got it. Basically, all the non-refining thieves want is the honey comb out of the cc and a greater rate of pay.
The problem arises, as normal, the thieves are often too stupid to figure out how to obtain the greater rate of pay. LOL The formula given explains a rash of home burnings in Toledo that the fire dept cannot seem to explain. Since when do the normal conclusions result in 60 yo brick homes COLLAPSING during the flames? EXPLOSIONS! The fire dept. here just has not had many dealings w/the chemicals [given in the recipe] for removing Platinum from the honey comb to figure out what generated the fires [and explosions]. With that info I'm going to help the fire dept. and the police dept figure out who is stealing all the converters around here. YES, I'M PISSED. They have got to have burns on their bodies just from stealing my ccs. And my final question is,
QUESTION: HOW MUCH ARE LINCOLN CC WORTH?
- Toledo, Kentucky, USA
January 30, 2012
I am a refiner of Precious metals and I buy the ceramic materials from converters. I do recover the PGM'S from the ceramic honey comb material, and yes the average of the PGM's (Platinum Group Metals) recovery is 2 grams per converter. Some more, Some less.
The process is hazardous, especially for laymen who do not have a metals background. The dangers are: acid burns to skin and eyes, burns to the lungs from toxic vapours, fires, death from poisoning (toxic materials are absorbed thru the skin EVEN if wearing the wrong gloves).
Basic rule of thumb: The bigger the engine, the more PGM'S
I advise my clients to split the steel converter case, and the stainless shell. I advise them to sell the steel and stainless, then crush up the honey comb material and ship THAT to me ONLY.
It is much cheaper that way for them. (I do not pay shipping)
I offer them a buy out for the material when I receive it, or I will process the material and then send them 50% back of the recovered PGM'S, Most like to get the metals back as they are saving it.
The equipment and small shop I have set up to perform this required an investment of $38,000.00 but I can also process computer scrap to recover the gold, silver, and copper as well, although a different process.
Same advice to my clients.
P.S. I will not purchase converter material that I believe was stolen.
- Tucson, Arizona, USA
January 31, 2012
Hello All. In reading and learning a lot from all the posts in this topic, I was wondering if anyone can explain the details of extracting PGM's from catalysts using the high temperature method. How hot does the material have to be heated? 5000 degrees F? 10,000? Does the catalyst have to be mixed with anything? After heating the material how do you extract the PGM's? Is there a collector material? Thanks for the information! I currently use chemicals but think is would be easier and safer to use high temperature to melt the material, but am not sure how to collect the PGM.Mark Thompson
- Seymour, Connecticut, USA
February 1, 2012
Do a little junking on the side. Course your bigger trucks have more but also your higher end cars. Acura, Lexus, Jetta and so on have good amount in them. Research the different junk stations in you areas. One always pays more than the others, and don't forget to ask them how they take it. They are usually different. Just quick and easy battery powered sawzall cut in front and behind. Last ones I took in, outta 6 of them lowest was $45.00 highest $110.00. Hope this helps someone.Lucas Ran
February 16, 2012
Like some others I do a little junking on the side and hope my info is helpful. I buy cars to sell to the local junkyard for cash. I am told regularly by the junkyard by text the current price of scrap metal. I do the simple math of gross vehicle weight * scrap metal price and I pay less than that for the car. Buy low, sell high. Then I remove the radiator, especially a copper radiator if applicable (older cars only) copper is worth way more than aluminum, the battery, loosen the aluminum wheels (leave 2 nuts tight for towing) leave steel wheels intact unless they have good tires, remove the tires if they are worth selling (I have a tire machine at home), If they are easy access I remove the starter and alternator, and lastly I remove the CC or CC's as some cars have up to 6 cats. At this point I tow the car to the junkyard on my tow dolly and sell it to the junkyard for current scrap prices. I remove the wheels at the junkyard when I drop it off. I put all of these removed parts in the bed of my truck and when it is full I take it to the highest paying core buyer I can find which is usually always the same one about an hour from my house. I typically get a check for $800 to $1000 for a small load. Factory CC's bring about $40-50 for small, $50-75 for medium-sized and $90-115 for large. It's that simple. I buy 1 or 2 cars a week and go to the core buyer about once a month. I don't mind sharing this information because it is a big world out there and cars die constantly. I feel good because I am recycling a tremendous amount of junk and making some nice money on the side. So as you can see, you don't have to be a thief to make money selling CC's. BTW we do have CC theft here and it seems that the easiest targets are trucks because you don't have to use a jack and the removal with a battery powered sawzall takes about 1 minute. I know this because I just replaced the CC's on all of my work trucks about 4 months ago after they were stolen. The camera footage of the thieves gave me the timeframe involved. Also, like many others on this thread, I rarely comment but this was hard to resist. I found it by mistake looking for a better place to sell my CC's.Ed North
- Nashville, Tennessee, USA
February 26, 2012
This is to any/everyone that has asked "how to...", you do not have to risk your life or anyone else's to make $ from this. It is not known knowledge because of the danger/risk involved. Find a "scrap yard" near you, that is what they are there for. My husband and I called around and found who "generally" has the best buy price for each metal. The prices for scrap change all day everyday. If you really want the per ounce pay scrap jewelry instead, leave extractions to the ones who have a degree in Chemistry please, for not only your health but freedom as well. (Got to be laws against it.) Please do not take this out of context either, It's not meant to belittle anyone.Tanesha Byrum
- Spartanburg, South Carolina
March 4, 2012
I have just read MOST of this thread with some interest and amusement. I say MOST, because after 3 pages of largely the same questions and comments, it got a little boring.
For a start, I work in the gold/silver refining industry and have done for about 15 years. So the comments about throwing it all in a furnace to melt and pouring it out are interesting to me. Wish it was that easy!
To refine gold and silver you need to have some basic knowledge of the quantities so you can get your flux mixes right for the best separation and efficient recovery. Secondly, you cannot just throw it in and pour it out, I have seen some nasty accidents happen to people who think they can just do this. This stuff when molten is damn hot! Our furnace runs at approx. 1500-1800 C and the material is not much less than that when poured. We wear full Kevlar heat resistant coats and gloves and I still have managed a few small scars due to mishaps.
As for platinum recovery, the company I work for is South African in origin and I am aware of the recovery process of the platinum direct from the mine. It involves floatation processes to obtain a concentrate and then smelting in a furnace, then solvent extraction, distillation and ion-exchange processes to finally end up with the desired refined product.
I am sure that you could safely and efficiently recover platinum from various sources, but it would need to be done with exceptional care and the initial infrastructure costs to do it safely and efficiently would be quite high. I would be wondering if it is worth it.
As for the price of platinum, here is the link to the daily price: www.kitco.com/charts/liveplatinum.html. Currently it is sitting at a touch below USD $1700.00/oz. The 5 year high for platinum (before this thread with it's wild outrageous price quotes started!) is USD $2252.00/oz, way back in March '08 (About when this thread started).
Before anyone embarks on an attempt to recover these metals, make sure that your first priority is safety. When things go badly in these processes, people get hurt. Badly hurt!
- Perth, Western Australia
March 25, 2012
Good morning all,
Of course we all know the aqua regia bath is the way to go. After completing all the steps, I only have one missing part: further separating the palladium from the platinum, giving two distinct metals. Can anyone help me with this?
- Reidsville, North Carolina
April 16, 2012
Q. Hi. I purchased some Palladium that was scrapped out of computers. It is in small, tiny, little bar-shaped form. I am new at this and need to know if this is the correct form where I can take to scrap at a jeweler? Any info. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.Misty Mitt
- Margate, Florida, USA
Thank you for this wonderful forum and topic. I read it all! It contains everything that a good novel has: Conspiracy; knowledge; human nature and ethics. The posters are in contrast and interact with one another like in a well written play. Such entertainment! The work should be published.Sharon Gless
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
August 24, 2012
A. I've just destroyed a CC from a mid-nineties Ford.
Breaking apart the ceramic block with a hammer, I found 'cotton-like' material which was filled with small flakes of multi-colored metal particles.
I burned off the cotton-like material with a blow torch.
The remaining flakes are the precious metals.
I am not interested in further separation of the metals because of the expensive and dangerous process involved.
I just put the metal flakes in a jar and sell it off that way.
Much of the expense of recyclers is born from doing what I have already done for them. I'm providing the raw material for further refining by someone else.
- Little Chute, Wisconsin
September 11, 2012
I'd suggest that you try to sell those "precious metal flakes" from this one converter before expending effort on additional converters. Again, I am not a scrapper or an expert on this, but I did do a project at a catalytic converter plant decades ago and there was no visible precious metal. Rather, the precious metal slurry that the ceramic honeycombs were dipped into looked like a gruel of light gray plaster of paris.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 11, 2012
Q. Hi, I have two catalysts that were used on a Waukesha 7044 that produces 1680 HP in an industrial setting and was wondering what materials would be present if I would try and sell?David Rogers
- Slidell, Louisiana usa
A. Hi David. I'm not coming up with any reason to think they would be different than automotive catalytic converters.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 12, 2012
Q. I have spent hours going through this and want to thank Ted for what I feel is solid advice.
First I would like to ask, What is the most accepted way to sell my converter. I have already cut off an end. Do I break it out of there, Pound it into a powder or what.
I am not interested in refining but have tried a little myself with plated gold. I did not want to use the dangerous chemicals and was just curious. I actually had a little success with reverse plating in salt water using aluminum and copper anode and cathode. Some of the gold did not transfer. When I have time I will try some different anode.
Second question is where to get top dollar.
I know from my professions I have accomplished three things:
1. There is some expertise I am not willing to share.
2. Most of us pros want to show off our expertise and also help others.
3. If I think it is dangerous to you or others I will warn you but not inform you. Acid explodes, burns, blinds and kills. Know what your doing. Accidents even happen to pros. For crying out loud the grease in a deep fryer will explode if heated too high. Soap will too.
Please stop calling us thieves. I just cleaned a man's property who gave me auto parts, tools and more. The fellow that owned the property before him owned a junk yard and, I guess, brought a lot of it home. He was just happy to get most off his property and only charged us for some motors and heads.
- Beaverton, Oregon, United States
January 24, 2013
Q. I'm not a recycler or have ever tried this as a hobby or otherwise so this may be a stupid question but couldn't you use reverse electroplating to abstract the metals from the slurry coated honeycomb? For example the negative side could be a metal that will melt easier than the platinum etc and the positive side being the honeycomb?Joseph Velder
- Monroe, North Louisiana
A. I just found a DPF recycler (Diesel Particulate filter) in TX. I got $850 for all 3 that were on my 2007.5 dodge diesel system. Running open pipe now; a lot cooler exhaust temps. Need to look at numbers on cats; some on same type of truck go for 100 bucks and some 600, just depends on who made them. Website lets you know what #'s to look for and what they go for. Go on forum for the type of car/truck you have and people will pay for cat. I had 6 replies in 5 mins of posting my cats were for sale. If you are stealing them write down on the cat the kind of car you took them off of and I hope the cops get you then. Yes, around here they ask for ID when you scrap a cat and copper too.Greg Grueninger
- Columbia, Illinois
June 26, 2013
I just spent 4 hours reading these posts. Very interesting. I came here searching for information on how to remove what I think is platinum from some old broken fine china. I obviously thought the sight was interesting and I did learn how to identify platinum and where I could take it. Still not sure if it would be worth the money I would need to spend. My husband is an auto body tech, which got me interested in the cc/s, however, after reading it all, don't think it is worth the trouble. I know they already sell old parts to someone and I would assume that is the case with most shops. Anyway thanks to all for the entertainment for the afternoon and sharing your knowledge.
- Kent, Washington
July 7, 2013
Q. I have punched a catalytic converter; there is a material in there, not the honey comb, that contained a metal powder. I have done some research to see what this is -- everyone except here says it is platinum. Not really trusting anyone I got some platinum testing acid to see for myself. Guess what, it is platinum. Why are people trying to keep this secret?Glen B.
- La Luz, New Mexico, US
July 8, 2013
A. Hi Glen. If "everyone except here" says it is platinum, why would you say people are trying to keep it a secret? After you are paid for this "platinum", please come back and tell us how much you got. Please also spend some of your research time studying why a catalytic converter has platinum in it, and why and how it works, and you will come to understand where the precious metal is and why. Good luck.
(The exhaust goes through those tiny channels in the honeycomb, which is coated with a slurry of precious metals. The honeycomb gets red hot, and when any unburned or partially burned fuel touches these red hot specs of platinum they combine with the available oxygen to form H2O or CO2. The reason the exhaust may be a little smoky and smell a bit until the car warms up has a little to do with the rich fuel-air mixture, but a lot to do with the fact that until the honeycomb becomes really hot from the exhaust gasses, it can't catalyze the exhaust gasses.)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
July 10, 2013
A. Through my research I understand why platinum, rhodium and palladium are in there. Also, if I am wrong I will come back here and tell you.Glen Butler
- La Luz, New Mexico, US
August 16, 2013
Q. I have the option of getting a jar full of pellets from a bunch of catalytic converters and was curious, being that I have a smelter, if I could just melt it down and extract the platinum from it that way instead of trying to be a chemist?Devon Johndon
- Rock Springs, Wyoming, USA
August 21, 2013
! 1. Remove substrate, and wash with clean water to remove as much of the excess carbon as possible.
2. Crush wet substrate and screen to ensure uniform particle size.
3. Put wet screened material in a PET container like a 2 liter Coke bottle and cover with dilute (50/50) HCl 32% and water. Add 3 capfuls of Clorox bleach and put the lid on the bottle. (Do not exceed 50% volume of the container you are using, and sit this in a warm location.
4. Every second day add 2 capfuls of clorox, do this for 2 weeks.
5. Pressure will build in the bottle and the chlorine gas will escape through the PET. When the pressure goes down add more bleach.
6. After two weeks filter through a coffee filter to remove any solid particles and then drop all the PGMs with zinc. (The resulting clear liquid can be recycled by adding a little HCl and bleach to process the next cat.
7. The PGMS drop together as a black powder. Wash the powder with water X3 and then with HCl X3 to remove any excess zinc.
8. To separate the PGMs, process in AR, (be sure to test with Stannous chloride). When the black solids are dissolved in the AR, drop Platinum with Ammonia Chloride, then drop the palladium with either chlorine gas or with Sodium Chloride crystals.
9.Rhodium can then be dropped from the solution with Sodium Hydroxide.
Note: While this is not Rocket Science it is not easy either, working with chemicals can be extremely dangerous if you do not follow safety guidelines. Melting the metals recovered requires a high heat, I would recommend a Hydrogen torch setup and an alumina melting dish. This is not intended to be a step by step instruction, it is meant to be a guide only for those interested. There is more to the process than I am posting, if you are not inclined to pay attention to detail or are in a hurry to make something happen now or yesterday, do not try this.
- Tibro, Sweden
December 25, 2013
A. You said to drop the palladium with sodium chloride. I think you meant to say sodium chlorate.Steve Spevak
- Winchester, Virginia, USA
February 12, 2014
First of all I want to thank the people that are only concerned for others' health. I want to share my situation and what I have learned from it.
Q. I manage the bullion account for a local mechanic. Any defective cats that he has to replace, he gives me the old ones (I have only gotten two, in the past 6 months so there is no foul play). I do not want to know how to purify platinum. I will learn that only after I have years of experience in the Aqua Regia process or the HCL + Chlorine process. My problem is I have no way of knowing what the cats were so I cannot turn them into a refiner because he just sends me the broken up ceramic honeycomb. I have used a rubbermaid tub filled with water, submerged the bags and opened to control the dust/free radicals that fly up and into the air. I just want to separate the metal from the ceramic.
I have heard of two different suggestions. Option one is to pan it out. This seems ineffective due to the weight of the plat. Its so thin and I do not have experience panning, the metal would possibly just float away. The second option is very very scary and is really only mentioned for information. Hydrofluoric acid (no, not chloric, fluoric) is the only acid known to dissolve ceramic, but is blocks nerves and will be eating away at your hand. It would be two days before you became aware of a spill and by then it is way too late. The wikipedia pic says it all to me. =>
I think panning would be my only choice. Also I plan to evaporate the water once the panning is complete. I want to be as nature-friendly as possible.
Are there any other options to consider? Are my ideas good? Safe? Please don't burn a guy for asking a question.J. Fisher
- Dyersburg, Tennessee, United States of America
March 2, 2014
A. To the poster above who wishes to not be burned, the metals you are interested in are not the visible shiny flakes. The good stuff is about as fine as talcum powder and is part of the coating of the many surfaces within the multitude of crannies in the channels of the matrix or deposited on the beads if of the bead type converter. The shiny flakes of which you speak are mica that are there to expand during heating to hold the matrix in place and provide a seal to prevent untreated exhaust from sneaking its way around the grid and into the great outdoors where they would contribute to 'global warming' which is freezing us to death all over America this winter.
Q. Does anyone know of any simple way to collect the platinum, paladium, and rhodium from converters as a co-mingled group? I've gotten platinum and paladium by AR twice, but that's just plain craziness for your average backwoods metals reclaimer, AND the rhodium stays put. Your professional input is greatly appreciated. Thanks, -frankShane Benson
- Hardscrabble, Delaware USA
June 6, 2014
It's simple to remove the honeycomb from the converter. Just cut it open and break up the honeycomb. It will fall out of it.
Some cases you can just take the converter off and turn it on end and hit it with a HAMMER and the chunks of honeycomb will fall out onto a piece of cardboard. Then pan out the crushed chunks .
- Edna, Texas us
September 26, 2014
A. I will explain in a simple way: you have to separate the platinum from the black stuff -- it is heavier, so you can do something similar to gold panning after its all crushed into a fine substance. Then the platinum is separated from any other base metals using aqua regia (royal water), which is actually two kinds of acid mixed together: one part nitric acid to three parts hydrochloric acid. This is the only thing that will dissolve gold or platinum. These acids are very strong and dangerous ... use extreme caution!!
Boil the aqua regia solution containing the Pt and Pd down to a syrup like consistency, add hydrochloric acid and repeat until the solution is completely free of nitric acid. Do this under a hood at a medium heat, not letting the liquid evaporate entirely. Then, pour into a large vessel; wash the evaporating dish with a wash bottle. Dilute the solution with three or four volumes of tap water then filter.
The reagent used to precipitate the platinum is ammonium chloride. This will also bring down any iridium present. Use good quality ammonium chloride. You need an amount of ammonium chloride at least half the weight of the platinum values that are in the solution. A little excess is recommended. You will need a concentrated ammonium chloride solution of about 4 N (214 grams in 1 liter).
Have the solution warm to medium heat. Pour the ammonium chloride in slowly while stirring and you will see the orange-yellow precipitate form. This is the platinum. If iridium is present, it will precipitate out as a black solid more slowly, starting in about one hour. So separation is possible.
After gold (use sulfur dioxide gas), platinum and iridium removal, the palladium can be removed. It is precipitated with sodium or potassium chlorate. Sodium chlorate works better but it can be dangerous because if it comes in contact with organic material, it can cause a fire.
Put the solution in a beaker and bring it to a light boil. Then lower the heat to just below boiling. CAREFULLY, put a teaspoon of sodium chlorate crystals over the beaker and carefully shake a few crystals into the solution at a time. The solution will agitate. When it calms down carefully add in a few crystals more just so the solution does not boil over. You will need about a teaspoon of sodium chlorate for every quart of solution depending on how much Pd is present. The precipitate of palladium is a bright red powder, palladium ammonium chloride.
Use as little sodium chlorate as possible. The fumes produced are chlorine gas so do this in a hood.
- shingle springs California usa
Thanks for the detail Scott. Boy, we hope people don't try this at home, or in poorly equipped labs, or without good chemical knowledge and haz-mat training! This makes tornado chasing sound like a breeze.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 23, 2014
It seems to me that most businesses are in business to make money but upon doing the math @1.9 grams of platinum in a catalytic converter equates to approx. $85.00 worth of platinum. So i guess the platinum recycling business from catalytic converters is the one company that stays in business by breaking even or even losing money. That business secret is the one I would be interested in. Also i would like to point out that an aftermarket converter from a local parts house contains zero, but it does contain a serial number to tell a smog machine it does not contain platinum is my guess. So in short, platinum is the most precious metal on earth thus far 1% is mined in the u.s. 60% of the world supply is in catalytic converters, and the u.s. is the only country with a smog law that requires catalytic converters. Want to sell a car in u.s., send us your platinum supply Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Range Rover VW, Porche, Fiat, Lexus, Acura, Maserati, Volvo, Hyundai, Kia, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki...etc. Oh and by the way diesels have them too.joe cooper
- sacramento califoria united states
October 30, 2014
Gentleman pick up for example a converter of a GM CAR OR TRUCK on the cat there is an 8 digit number for ex. 25153032 or 12569671; each converter has a number -- for the most part I can tell you the amount of material in each piece and tell you the value based on the price that platinum palladium and rhodium is selling for. You will discover that you will have a converters that they look the same but different numbers and different values all is from the emission laws. If anyone needs help feel free to post on this site.John miller
- Suffolk Virginia
November 13, 2014
I just got on here and to let everyone know processing platinum is not dangerous anymore and you can do it in your home. And before you ask, yes, I have processed platinum and gold in my home safely and without any harm to myself or the environment. I'm not a regular on here but anyone looking to do this stuff it will cost money and time but the whole hazard thing is in the past; if you use common sense, a 6-year old child should use. The hard part is getting the gold and platinum. That's my problem, but processing is easy. I know everybody on edge so here is how you do it. The company I use to process is (Ishor). Simply google it and then you need a furnace that gets hot enough to melt the gold or the platinum. It's that easy, but it's safe and it does cost money. It cost me about $2000 to get everything -- but once you have enough product (gold, platinum) it pays for itself. Now if anyone can help me find gold or platinum I would be most appreciative.Jonathan Kennedy
- Waldorf Maryland
November 22, 2014
! Bull, the ones go for more most places pay 150 to 300 for them. I don't believe it's all that complicated to extract because if so, why would people and so many be willing to buy at these prices?Ian zackey
- martins ferry ohio
December 28, 2014
Q. If I may ask:
I have read most of the posts but there is one thing I don't understand --
If the insides of the CAT can be milled down to a fine powder and dumped into a barrel, then why not just hook up a constant electrolysis device to said barrel and collect the platinum slowly but safely?
... and then laugh at everyone else on the way to the bank?
- raleigh North Carolina
A. Hi Tony. There is nothing essentially wrong with that theory. Some readers (like Jonathan two paragraphs above) have suggested it and even claimed to have done it. But one of the issues is that to plate platinum out of solution requires that the platinum be dissolved into the solution, not just be sitting on the bottom of the vat of water or barrel as a sludge or slurry. That requires the use of an acid strong enough to dissolve the platinum (aqua regia or substitute), which means that "the whole hazard thing is in the past" is NOT true -- as you'll read on Ishor's own page at
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 31, 2014
Q. I reviewed what you said and I think that dissolving it into solution is indeed an added and necessary step that can't be avoided.
So I looked into other options with safe instructions.
What do you think of this guy's site? ;)
- raleigh North Carolina
A. Hi Tony. That article is about recovering gold from electronics, whereas we're talking about catalytic convertors on this page (we have many other threads about recovering gold from electronics). I am too busy with this site to critique others, so I only took a quick glance, and it looked quite good for gold in electronics but not very applicable for catalytic convertors :-)
But I continue to take issue with people believing that aqua regia and its substitutes like hydrochloric-acid-plus-bleach are "safe", or that haz-mat training is unnecessary (safety glasses are NOT chemical goggles), and that you need know no chemistry before mixing up aggressive & dangerous solutions and generating loads of very difficult to treat waste products. The author says he's recovered a pound of gold from scrap electronics ... I don't even like to think about the horrifying quantities of toxic waste that involves and that we are all on the hook for dealing with.
One final thought. I earn my living through advertising revenue from this site, not by actually producing a product myself. Although the specific site you mentioned looks good, when you visit "how to" sites, keep conscious of the fact that many others earn their living the same way I do. Just because there are instructions doesn't mean that they've earned money by following those instructions or even that the instructions work -- it might just mean that the page earns them advertising dollars :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 15, 2015
A. To everyone on this site,
Look, there is no secret to extracting the precious metals in converters. Just like there is no secret to extracting the gold on digital boards, etc. etc. Yes, platinum, palladium, rhodium, are all very valuable. The amount of these precious metals in one particular converter varies (widely), but the amounts are so miniscule that it's not worth the danger for an individual to try to perform. There is a lot of chemistry involved in separating the metals and being able to YIELD the most you can that someone with a few years in chem class in college would know it isn't worth the risk. I've dabbled in chemistry, and reducing metals is not easy and is time consuming (and dangerous, ask my college professor who has his arm riddled with glass from an exploded beaker).
I actually work for a company that recycles converters. We do tens of thousands a week. We take in whole converters, use a hydraulic press to cut open the converters and empty out the honeycomb inside. We package up the contents and have them sent to a refinery. The refinery, through use of a ball mill/hammer mill, breaks down these chunks into a fine powder. The powder is sent to a smelter, where all the science comes into play (separating the three metals to produce a slag). Smelting a 40,000 pound load of powder will usually only get you a small jar of material. We are successful because we do such high volumes.
Ignorance before I learned it is what lead me to believe, "it's not that hard" like most of the people on this forum. I'll say now, that I would never attempt this myself. It's definitely not a complicated process, but it's dangerous.
Anyways, just wanted to make everyone feel better about this! To those small collectors, your best bet is finding a TRUSTWORTHY company that properly recycles them to sell them to. That's how you get the most money. There's not enough precious metal in 1 converter to justify the risk trying this yourself (heck, it's not really a DIY project).
Hope this helps!
- Austin, Texas, USA
January 27, 2015
Q. What kind of catalytic converter stuff do scrap yards NOT buy? I mean powder or already broken, solids that have been removed from a can?Kastytis Kerbedis
- New York, New York
A. Hi Kastytis. Some postings here from many years ago suggested that powder or broken units would be okay; but after the nationwide rash of catalytic converter thefts, I'd probably bet against reputable scrap yards buying an untraceable lot like a barrel of cores :-)
Still, one person can't speak for other people, and you'd have to phone a few to determine their policy.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 31, 2015
Crush the honeycomb and pan it out like gold. Makes since to me.Reno Windstorm
- Freeport,Texas USA
Hi. Let us know how that works out for you, Reno. I'm guessing it won't -- but there is very limited value in guessing :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
A. The honda o2 straight has one of the largest payouts in platinum I have found conducting many experiments. Try not breaking the cone because separating the ceramic dust is frustrating, so cutting the cat in center, have somthing under to catch what falls. Use a magnet to remove steel shavings and pan the cotton like material and filter thru a series of different shifters and brillos finally to coffee filter. Use clay pot as crucible or graphite. Preheat and glaze the crucible with granular borax it should turn into glass. Drop platinum flakes/dust onto it while it's still soft; it hardens quickly, then add a little borax over the top to help gather the impurities as it melts. Note it takes a minimum 3200 degrees for platinum to melt and that's hot! So make sure you're able to reach that temp before you waste as much time as I did, not to mention all the waste. Also note the contents have absorbed toxic harmful fumes they will let off these vapors when they are opened up and through the process. Wear latex gloves work in well ventilated area. The contents can be heated to about 900 degrees I think, not exactly sure, to burn off the toxic vapors. This is how I have found before learning to make my own nitric acid since you can't realy buy it without a license but the acids add to the danger and toxic fumes. Also, the more chance of platinum loss if you're self educating yourself as you go, but it is faster and the results are a lot more pure when you finally get it figured out.cory dawayne lee
self employed - shepherd Texas u.s.a
February 20, 2015
A. I would look it up on youtube. You might get the answer on how to do it. Just be cautious about it.moises verdin
- las cruces, New Mexico
July 28, 2015
Years ago I worked on a plant which extracted gold fines from mine tailings. They added mercury to the tailings/water mix and aerated it (gold attaches itself to mercury for those unaware), then they would use arsenic and electrolysis to extract the gold from the mercury. Since platinum is white gold, this may work the same. That's all the info I can share.
- Bribbaree, NSW, Australia
August 24, 2015
Q. Is it the same process for extracting the platinum out of chemical fume hoods?DAVE BASS
- birmingham united kingdom
? Hi Dave. After 6 pages and hundreds of postings, I don't think anyone knows what you mean by "same process" :-)
Please describe your situation (Metal hoods vs plastic hoods? Hoods found in a scrap yard vs. still in service in your lab? Etc.) and what extraction process you are thinking of. Thanks.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"
Toxins from Catalytic ConvertersSeptember 7, 2015
Q. Isn't recycling of catalytic converters dangerous!?
I know a guy that makes $75,000 per month from precious metal recycling of catalytic converters... he is, though, mad as a hatter, and I cannot help but think it's related to the toxins involved in extracting the precious metals: palladium, rhodium, copper, nickel, cerium, iron, and manganese.
He can no longer think straight and the money he makes is worthless ... the government will probably end up with it, and he will probably not be around much longer.
acquaintance of Catalytic Converter Recycler - Renton, Washington
January 13, 2016
My 2 cents here for the hopeful recyclers of cats. I have recently met and learned extensively from a very successful recycler of cats. It is a very complex and dangerous chemical process that can lead to explosive mixtures and or a waste of time and money. If you have lots of both time and money i.e. Years and millions and a very competent chemist you might be lucky enough to solve the issues involved in commercial recycling. Commercial being large scale. Smaller scale recycling is not as dangerous as the mistakes and subsequent possible explosions are smaller scale and the raw material wasted not as costly. A large scale commercial processing set-up is not cheap either. Probably $1M + for reactors and factory. Then comes the cost of material or all those cats at $50-120 each. Of course you have probably already figured out that if you can solve the secret you will make lots of money?Alex Root
recycling - Dubai UAE
January 15, 2016
A. Not to burst anyone's bubble but, here is some Additional information about that people need to know about chemically recycling cats. FYI, I am a layman with no advanced understanding of chemistry but see my post above. The original manufacture of cats requires the bonding of ceramic and PGM platinum. The bonding process was first developed by some of the greatest minds in chemistry. In contrast, the gold in computer boards etc. is not bonded, so commercial computer scrap recycling is easy compared to cat recycling. The recycling of cats requires the de-bonding of the ceramic and the PGM. Smelting is a different process which requires huge heat. This debonding chemical process is simple except that when you combine platinum, ceramic and acid (BTW these acids are controlled purchase chemicals) you are making a highly explosive mixture. It is also a toxic mess but the explosion will kill you before the toxicity. Also at a commercial scale you would be dealing with enough acid to desolve a whole person if there was an accident or mistake not to mention a big explosion. If you do know how to build the plant and to safely monitor and then untangle this complex chemical equation you will eventually have pure PGM powder, non toxic sludge and water at the other end. I am not sure how many cats it takes make this process financially feasible but I know it is way over 10,000. But your mileage may very. Good Luck.Alex Root
Recycling - Dubai UAE
January 28, 2016
A. People worried about using Aqua Regia for stripping the desired metals from the ceramic substrate might want to read this:
The nitric acid in AR is just there as an oxidizing agent, and the authors have demonstrated that hydrogen peroxide does a comparable job. Both HCl and H2O2 are used for domestic pool/spa purposes and can be bought at the local hardware store.
For Scott M's method of separating the PG metals, the ammonium chloride for platinum precipitation can be made from ammonium sulphate sold in the garden section and calcium chloride sold as household dehumidifier. There won't be any gold; no need to burn any sulphur,so on to the palladium.
Chlorates per se are no longer over-the-counter items in this country, or anywhere else probably, but match heads are potassium chlorate and antimony sulphide. The small amount of chlorate needed could be leached out by a determined home chemist. I should note that Scott's comment about sodium chlorate being a fire hazard also applies to the potassium salt.Colin Braathen
- Sydney, NSW, Australia
February 4, 2016
Interesting paper. We are mixing 750 kilos of catalyst inserts in one reactor. This is where issues of heat and runaway reactions arise and the nature of the chemistry changes.Alex Root [returning]
- Dubai, Dubai, UAE
March 16, 2016
A. I watched a show that showed how to extract the platinum. You need a high temp ceramic bowl and an acetylene rosebud torch. Put the materials in the bowl and burn everything off leaving the platinum behind.
- Asotin, Washington USA
July 2, 2017
Q. Hi. I have an exhaust pipe, from the manifold back to before the muffler. It's brand new, never had a puff of exhaust in it. It's for a Ford Taurus and has two converters on it. I'm trying to decide how best it can be sold, and how much the platinum alone inside it is worth.Chad C
- Auburn, Indiana, USA
August 7, 2017
Hi. Donald L from Brisbane Australia. Just read your in depth method on removing platinum from converters. Just wanted to know if you could Dumb it Down a little for the layman? After all, there must be an easy way. Cheers.Don lane
- Brisbane Australia
Hi Donald. You're the one who thinks there's an easy way, not me. But Todd W just told us that you simply put it all in a high temperature ceramic bowl and burn everything off with an acetylene torch except the platinum. I tend to doubt it, but if you want it simple, there ya go :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"
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