When water is added to calcium carbide, acetylene gas is produced. This process is easily controlled using a simple apparatus, for example, the classic miner's safety light is a portable acetylene generator. In the early days, an acetylene generator, carbide, and water was all that was needed for a steady supply of heat, light, and power.
Today, this straightforward process, scaled up, produces tens of thousands of tons of acetylene every year at our customer's plants.
Our customers package acetylene in cylinders or use it directly in their manufacturing processes. Cylinders for acetylene conform to all the safety requirements imposed by governing agencies on any other fuel cylinder (relief valves, for example) and also use acetylene dissolved in acetone and disperse the gas in a porous media in the cylinder. This method has been used in the acetylene industry for nearly 100 years to prevent the decomposition of acetylene when it is overpressurized.
Picture: Carbide lanterns, once commonplace and still favored by spelunkers, are an example of an acetylene generator. Water is in the upper chamber, carbide in the bottom. The screw on top adjusts the water flow into the bottom chamber. Acetylene then comes out a pinhole in the middle of the reflector where it is lit. The light from a carbide lantern is surprisingly bright.
ABOUT Acetylene Generation