Augusta Machine and Welding, Inc.     2002





Acetylene, colorless, odorless, flammable gas, HC¿CH, slightly lighter than air. As ordinarily prepared it has an unpleasant odor due to impurities. Acetylene, also known as ethyne, can be prepared from any of various organic compounds by heating them in the absence of air, but it is usually made commercially by the reaction of calcium carbide with water. Although acetylene can be liquefied at ordinary temperatures with high pressure, it is violently explosive as a liquid. Acetylene gas is usually stored in metal tanks, under pressure, dissolved in liquid acetone. When acetylene is bubbled through a solution of ammonia and cuprous chloride, copper acetylide, a reddish precipitate, is formed. This is used as a test for acetylene. Copper acetylide is explosive when dry.

Acetylene burns in air with a hot and brilliant flame. It was formerly much used as an illuminant and is now mainly used in the oxyacetylene torch, in which acetylene is burned in oxygen, producing a very hot flame used for welding and cutting metal. Acetylene is also used in chemical synthesis, particularly in the manufacture of vinyl chloride for plastics, acetaldehyde, and the neoprene type of synthetic rubber. Acetylene has a melting point of -81° C (-113.8° F) and a boiling point of -57° C (-70.6° F).