Acetylene
C2H2

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CGA Specifications

General Characteristics Health Hazards Material Recommendations
A colorless, flammable gas with an odor similar to garlic. Shipped and stored in dissolved acetone. Can decompose spontaneously if pressure exceeds 15 PSIG. A simple asphyxiant Use steel and wrought iron. Avoid copper, silver and mercury. Explosive acetylides can be formed on copper and aluminum bronze.
TLV-TWA Flammable Limits DOT Class / Label
2.3----100% 2.1 / Flammable
Molecular Weight Specific Gravity Specific Volume
26.04 0.91 @ 70 F 14.5 cu.ft./lb @ 60 F
CGA Valve Outlet CAS Registry No. UN Number
510 74-86-2 1001
National Stock Number (NSN) Applicable to Acetylene MIL Specs/ Fed Specs
MSDS for Acetylene


Grade
Part #
Purity Minimum Cylinder
Size
Volume
SCF
Pressure
@ 70 F
Comments
Atomic Absorption
400100
99.8% 061
023
390
145
250
250

None

Purified
400200
99.6% 061
023
390
145
250
250

None

Industrial / Technical 99.5% 061
023
390
145
250
250

None


General:

Acetylene is simplest member of unsaturated hydrocarbons called alkynes or acetylenes. Most important of all starting materials for organic synthesis. Usefulness of actylene is partly due to the variety of addition reactions which its triple bond undergoes and partly due to the fact that its weakly acidic hydrogen atoms are replaceable by reaction with strong bases to form acetylide salts.

OSHA Data:

Acetylene is a compressed gas that is used as a fuel and is stored in a liquid state. When the valve is opened and pressure is released a portion of the liquid turns to gas. This gas is then used by the device that the cylinder is connected to. Because acetylene is stored as a liquid, the cylinder will only work properly if the tank is used in the upright position. Using, or storing, the tank in any other position can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Labor General Industry
Digest, 1994 (Revised):

"Acetylene cylinder shall be stored and used in a vertical, valve-end-up position only."

The actual OSHA standard, 1910.253(b)(3)(ii) says,

Acetylene cylinders shall be stored valve end up.

Because acetylene is extremely sensitive to pressure, it should never be used at more than 15 p.s.i. Many workers have been injured or killed when using oxygen-acetylene welder and cutters because they allowed their rig to subject the acetylene fuel to pressures greater than 15 p.s.i. The actual OSHA standard, 1910.253(a)(2) says,

Maximum pressure. Under no condition shall acetylene be generated, piped
(except in approved cylinder manifolds) or utilized at a pressure in excess of 15
psig (103 kPa gauge pressure) or 30 psia (206 kPa absolute). ... This requirement
is not intended to apply to storage of acetylene dissolved in a suitable solvent in
cylinders manufactured and maintained according to U.S. Department of
Transportation requirements, or to acetylene for chemical use. The use of liquid
acetylene shall be prohibited.

General Data | Boiling Chart

Pure acetylene is a colourless gas with a pleasant odour; as prepared from calcium carbide it usually contains traces of phosphine that cause an unpleasant garliclike odour. Acetylene can be decomposed to its elements with the liberation of heat. The decomposition may or may not give rise to explosions, depending on conditions. Pure acetylene under pressure in excess of about 15 pounds per square inch or in liquid or solid form explodes with extreme violence.

Mixtures of air and acetylene are explosive over a wide range, from about 2.5 percent air in acetylene to about 12.5 percent acetylene in air. When burned with the correct amount of air,
acetylene gives a pure, white light, and for this reason it was at one time used for illumination in locations where electric power was not available, e.g., buoys, miners' lamps, and road signals.
The combustion of acetylene produces a large amount of heat, and, in a properly designed torch, the oxyacetylene flame attains the highest flame temperature (about 6,000° F, or 3,300° C) of
any known mixture of combustible gases.

The hydrogen atoms in acetylene can be replaced by metallic elements to form acetylides--e.g., acetylides of silver, copper, or sodium. The acetylides of silver, copper, mercury, and gold are
detonated by heat, friction, or shock. In addition to its reactive hydrogen atom, the carbon-carbon triple bond can readily add halogens, halogen acids, hydrogen cyanide, alcohols, amines,
and amides. Acetylene can also add to itself or to aldehydes and ketones. Many of the reactions mentioned here are used for the commercial manufacture of various industrial and consumer
products, such as acetaldehyde, the synthetic rubber neoprene, water-base paints, vinyl fabric and floor coverings, dry-cleaning solvents, and aerosol insecticide sprays. Acetylene is
produced by any of three methods: by reaction of water with calcium carbide, by passage of a hydrocarbon through an electric arc, or by partial combustion of methane with air or oxygen.