Why Cars Are So Noisy — Part 4

2 min readAug 1, 2021


Why Cars Are So Noisy — Part 4

Thieves that steal catalytic convertors want a very rare and expensive metal — but they can’t get it because of complex extraction processes. Out of all the PGMs, it is the most coveted and one of the rarest on Earth.

Rhodium might be the rarest element in the known universe at 0.3 parts per billion and was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston (the same guy that discovered palladium right before rhodium’s discovery.)

Rhodium’s name is of Greek origin (rhodon (ῥόδον) meaning “rose”). After precipitating platinum and palladium from platinum ore, Wollaston was left with a red rose-like powder, hence the name.

80% of the world’s use of rhodium is in CCs to convert unburned hydrocarbons, CO, and most importantly, NOx emissions. For those of you who smoke Newports or have used Vick’s Vaporub, rhodium is used in the production of menthol. It is also used in jewelry for reflective white surfacing (known as rhodium flashing) and to coat sterling silver to prevent tarnishing. Rhodium processes are found in manufacturing circuit boards, glassmaking, pacemakers, silicone rubber, car stereos and thermocouples.

Swiss researchers developed a new chemical process that uses the sun’s thermal energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into high energy fuels. This involves a new material combination of cerium oxide and small amounts of rhodium as a catalyst, which precludes chemical storage of solar energy. See below:


With the gold-plated ball in airbags, PGMs in cats, and gold and rhodium in car stereos, this might be a small contributor to the price-rise in the used car market. So before you junk your car, strip it of all gold, silver, and PGMs — there’s probably 5K in there somewhere, especially in older vehicles.

Rhodium price trends:

Closing price 7/31/2021 $18,400.00

52-week price change +106.74%

10-year price change +827.17%

Edward Kim is co-founder and Chief Research/Compliance Officer at 3LA Ventures. You can contact him at ed@3lavc.com

August 1, 2021