Advances in extrusion die technology allow ceramic substrate suppliers to provide new monolithic automotive substrates with considerably higher cell densities and thinner wall thicknesses. These new substrates offer both faster light off and better steady state efficiencies providing new flexibility in the design of automotive catalytic converters. The effectiveness-NTU methodology is used to evaluate various design parameters of the HCD substrates. Various theoretical derivations are supported with experimental results on substrates with cell densities ranging from 400 to 1200 cells per square inch with varying wall thicknesses. Performance effects such as steady state conversion, transient response both thermal and emission, flow restriction and FTP emissions results are evaluated. Poison deposition is studied and the effects on emissions performance evaluated. Overall, the effectiveness-NTU methodology provides a powerful design tool by which the converter design engineer can optimize various cell density substrates for emissions solutions. The HCD substrates themselves provide potential advantages in steady state conversion, transient cold start response and flow restriction.