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Calcium carbide

Calcium carbide is one of the types of inorganic compounds (chemical formula CaC2) used in modern industry as an intermediate in chemical and other industrial processes. It is a crystalline substance and its color ranges from light brown to black (depending on purity of its components).

Fields of application:

Calcium carbide is used in various industrial fields, including:
iron and steel industry (and construction) – in production of acetylene (obtained by combining CaC2 and water) for gas welding (autogenous) works as well as for purification / recovery of metal from impurities;
chemical industry related to production of synthetic materials that have found application in various fields of human activity, such as synthetic rubber, synthetic resins, vinyl chloride and fertilizers for agriculture used for soil liming ( “dolomitic lime) and control of plant growth.

What is calcium carbide produced from:

In the production of calcium carbide 2 main types of raw materials are used:
Quicklime pure grades of limestone, which is “burned”, and then passed through a special grating that eliminates small and large particles;
carbon compounds in the form of coke (anthracite coal).

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Production of calcium carbide:

Manufacturing process of calcium carbide is conducted in accordance with requirements of GOST (including – 1460-81) and consists of several stages:
both raw materials first finely crushed (using special equipment) and then mixed in a certain proportion in accordance with GOST;
this mixture is directed into electric carbide furnace constituting a reactor, in which necessary chemical and electrical processes result in melting of lime and coke (mainly electric arc method) at a temperature of 1900 C degrees;
the resulting melt is poured into special molds where it solidifies and is crushed again;
crushed pieces of calcium carbide are sorted by size – larger (25 × 80 mm), medium (15 × 25) and small (2 × 10);
assorted pieces are packed in special hermetically closed steel drums (usually – weighing 125-130 kg) or containers made of modern materials, impermeable to moisture.

Storage and transportation:

Calcium carbide actively absorbs moisture and large amounts of volatile energy are rapidly released during its expansion. That has an irritant effect on human bodies – mucosal respiratory and skin. Therefore special safety requirements are applied for storage and transportation.

Safety requirements:

Tanks containing calcium carbide should be stored separately from other chemical substances either outdoors under a canopy or in a well-ventilated warehouses;
people involved in works with this substance must protect respiratory system and skin by wearing masks or respirators and gloves. In case of a contact of carbide with skin or mucous membranes they must be washed with water and treated by oil-containing creams such as petroleum jelly or fat cream;
transportation of calcium carbide should be carried out in special covered (at least – a tarpaulin) trucks and railway cars-containers. Transportation of calcium carbide by air (plane or helicopter) is prohibited;
For opening drums containing calcium carbide, steel blades coated with special grease should be applied.