The automotive catalytic converters, which are employed to reduce engine exhaust emissions, operate in transient conditions under all modes of operation. The fluctuation in air-fuel ratio is a major contributor to these transients. The consideration of these transients is essential in accurate modeling of catalyst operation during actual driving conditions. In this work, a numerical investigation is carried out to comprehend the dynamic response of three-way catalytic converters subjected to changes in air-fuel ratio. The mathematical model considers the coupling effect of heat and mass transfer with the catalyst reactions as exhaust gases flow through the catalyst. The converter dynamic response is studied by considering a converter operating under steady conditions, which is suddenly subjected to air-fuel ratio variations. Two types of imposed fluctuations (sinusoidal and step changes) are considered. The catalyst response is predicted by using a detailed chemical mechanism. The paper elucidates the effect of air-fuel modulations on the catalyst HC, CO, and NO conversion efficiencies.

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