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Acetylene


#1

G’day: I’ve noticed a lot of comments about the uses/value, etc of
acetylene,and I’ll add my 0.5¢ worth.
I havem’t heard that copper and acetylene are really tapu, but this gas is
pretty reactive, and has a high calorific value. It may form copper acetylide
which could possibly be explosive. But since brass fittings have long been
used for acetylene bottles, I rather doubt there is much of a problem.
However, contrary to popular belief, acetylene explodes when compressed on
it’s own to a certain pressure. That’s right: what you get in those
bottles/cylinders is acetylene gas DISSOLVED IN ACETONE (like carbon dioxide
in soda drinks) with the acetone held in the pores of some inert material like
pumice, vermiculite, etc. There were some terrible explosions at the beginning
when they began to exploit it for industrial use. I reckon acetylene is if
anything, a bit more hazardous than propane.
John Burgess (johnb@ts.co.nz)