Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Acetylene safety

  1. May 18, 2016 #1
    Hi, I need to get some acetylene so I can calibrate our GC, the university has some in another department which I could possibly ask to have. I only need to inject very small quantities into the GC. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with this gas?

    If I ask the other department for it, I need to suggest how I will transfer it and store it safetly, therefore I would really appreciate some ideas on this. Could I dissolve it in a liquid? But I need a pure sample for our GC so we can determine if there is any in our sample.

    Thanks for any help as Im not a chemist.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2016 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No idea about pure. But my first instinct is to make it from calcium carbide.
  4. May 18, 2016 #3
    Many thanks for the reply! You mean instead of going to the other department, make it instead? Is it an easy proceedure? I can get any chemicals I need through the University, but as I say I'm really not a chemist. Would it be dangerous?
  5. May 18, 2016 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This is pretty easy and pretty standard procedure - calcium carbide is a solid, just add some water and it will nicely bubble. Standard precautions will be perfectly adequate - the leftover is caustic and the acetylene is flammable (perhaps even explosive is some concentrations), so gloves/glasses and ventilation are required, but there is nothing extraordinary here.

    As I said - I have no idea about purity of the acetylene made this way, a lot will depend on whether the carbide is a pure one, or not.

    From what I remember acetylene is not easy to transport - if pressurized it can easily react with itself, the reaction can be highly exothermic. Thus it is not transported as a gas, but rather dissolved (under pressure) in acetone. Thus making it in situ can be easier than other approaches.
  6. May 18, 2016 #5
    Ok, that's great, thanks very much for your help.
  7. May 18, 2016 #6
    Why do you need acetylene to calibrate a GC? What does calibrate mean anyway? Are you making a calibration curve for acetylene analysis? What are you running as samples and standards?
  8. May 18, 2016 #7
    Since GC is a separation technique purity is really not an issue, but you would need UPC acetylene. I really don't know of any way to get acetylene into crimped vial, without air. Perhaps you can fill a baloon, put a piece of tape on it, and insert your syringe through the tape to keep the baloon from popping.
  9. May 18, 2016 #8
    We need to know the retension time for acetylene so that when we inject our sample (which will likely contain the substance) we will be able to identify how much is there by its peak, which will be in the same place as a pure sample. This would be identification and calibration using the pure would tell us the amount. Sample is water containing short chained hyrocarbons and some other products.

    Yes I think the bubble idea will work, theres a youtube video here:

    Thanks for the comments
  10. Sep 12, 2016 #9
    ok we finally have our GC ready to start calibrating, I asked above about the purity of the acetylene via this method (balloon over water calcium carbide mix), does anyone else have any idea of the purity?

    ^^ would pure calcium carbide give pure acetylene?

    also just one more thing on safety, would I be safe taking it into a syringe (as suggested above) and running around with it in a syringe to the location of the GC?
  11. Sep 12, 2016 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted