Acetylene is a gas which colorless and highly combustible with its own characteristic odor. If it is liquefied, heated, compressed or mixed with air, the acetylene gas becomes high explosive. For production and handling of acetylene gas, the special precautions and safety measures need to be put in place. The Acetylene as a raw material is used for the production of various organic chemicals including 1, 4-butanediol, used for making polyurethane and polyester plastics. It is most commonly used as the fuel component in oxy-acetylene welding and metal cutting.
Acetylene is also used in for carburization of steel, flame heating, flame gouging, flame hardening, flame cleaning, flame straightening, thermal spraying, spot-heating, brazing, texturing and profile-cutting, and carbon coating. Acetylene is the chemical compound with the formula C2H2. The fuel gas is an unsaturated hydrocarbon and the simplest alkyne. An acetylene molecule comprises of two carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms. The two carbon atoms are bound together by what is known as a triple carbon bond with CH bond angle of 180 deg.
It must be noted that triple carbon bond is unstable which makes acetylene gas very susceptible to conditions such as excess pressure, excess temperature, static electricity, or mechanical shock. Want to know: acetylene plant project setup cost?
How acetylene gas is generated?
Acetylene gas is generated by a method known as chemical reaction process where a chemical reaction between calcium carbide and water produces acetylene gas. The reaction generates a lot of heat which needs to be eliminated to stop acetylene from exploding. This chemical reaction process involves variations that require either adding of calcium carbide to water or water is added to calcium carbide. Both the processes are known as wet processes because excess water is used for containing heat of the reaction.
Flow diagram of production of acetylene from calcium carbide:
Acetylene is generated in the gas generator by the hydrolysis reaction of calcium carbide with water. During hydrolysis the following chemical reaction take place.