Saturday, March 26, 2011

Acetylene dissolved in acetone

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Acetylene (C2H2) is a gaseous hydro- carbon with characteristics that make it highly suitable for technical applications. The gas contains 92.2 percentage by weight carbon and 7.8 percent hydro- gen and is approximately 10 percent lighter than air. It has high calorific value due to the special chemical combination of carbon and hydrogen.

When it is burned it releases large volumes of latent energy.

In 1896 the French scientists Claude and Hess discovered a way to store and transport acetylene without the risk of explosion. This method is based on the fact that acetone can dissolve many times its own volume of acetylene. The French call acetylene dissolved in acetone acétylène-dissous. At a pressure of 10 atmosphere one liter of acetone dissolves approximately 250 liters of acetylene.

But the near-accidents continued. Claude and Hess filled the containers with a porous compound which formed a system of small capillaries. The compound was drenched in acetone and then filled with acetylene. Since an explosion cannot spread in a tube with a diameter of a fraction of a millimeter, the inventors considered the problem solved. But the compound failed to meet expectations. Over time large holes could appear and explosions could occur.

Gustaf Dalén’s AGA compound from 1906 remained porous even when knocked and bumped and proved durable in all climates. The AGA compound provided a complete guarantee against explosions and allowed continued product development based on acetylene technology. To this day AGA in principle uses the same compound in its acetylene accumulators. When dissolved acetylene came into worldwide use, initially for AGA lighthouses and later for gas welding, AGA built acetylene gas plants in several locations outside Sweden.

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