Automotive exhaust catalysts are typically operated under stoichiometric conditions to minimize nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon, and carbon monoxide pollutants. These catalysts do not form carbon filaments under normal operating conditions. In development of catalysts, however, a stabilization procedure is sometimes utilized on used catalysts (dynamometer or vehicle) to purge the catalyst of sulfur prior to measuring the catalytic activity in sweep and light-off testing. The stabilization procedure consists of running the catalyst under rich (excess fuel) conditions for 0.5hr. This study documents the existence of carbon filaments due to the stabilization procedure and discusses the effect of filaments on subsequent testing.
Two separate catalysts were used in this study. The first was a 50,000 mile vehicle aged catalyst that had also been through the stabilization procedure and then sweep and light-off tested. The other was only dynamometer aged for 120hr at 850°C (1560°F).