What is acetylene?

What Does acetylene Mean

Acetylene is a concept that comes from the French acétylène . This word, in turn, is formed by acétyle (which can be translated as “acetyl” ) and -ène (the ending “-eno” ).

As you can see, it is possible to know more about the idea of ​​acetylene by analyzing its etymological components. Acetyl is the radical that corresponds to acetic acid ; A radical, meanwhile, is a set of atoms that, in a chemical compound, acts as a unit and passes unchanged from one combination to another.
Acetylene is a highly flammable hydrocarbon.
The ending -eno , on the other hand, refers in the field of chemistry to hydrogen carbides . It should be noted that carbides are combinations of carbon and metals.

What is acetylene
The etymology of acetylene refers to acetyl and is linked to radicals , carbides ... But, what specifically is acetylene? It is a gaseous hydrocarbon characterized by its high flammability.
The hydrocarbons are compounds that arise when carbon is combined with hydrogen. In the specific case of acetylene, it is generated when water (a substance made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atoms) acts on calcium carbide .
Continuing with the acetylene classification, we are dealing with an alkyne : an aliphatic hydrocarbon (that is, non-aromatic) that has triple CC ( carbon-carbon ) bonds . Also known as ethyne , acetylene has two carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms, its molecular formula being C2H2 .
His discovery
Edmund Davy was the one who accidentally discovered acetylene while trying to isolate potassium . In 1836 , Davy heated potassium carbonate with carbon, generating the residue that today is called potassium carbide . Potassium carbide, in turn, releases this gas by reacting with water.
Despite the finding, it took more than two decades for acetylene to return to attention. It was the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot who, in 1860 , rediscovered this gas and named it acetylene.
There are welding equipment that uses acetylene.
Acetylene Properties
Acetylene is explosive : it explodes, for example, when it is compressed without being in solution in another substance. Its decomposition occurs through an exothermic reaction (releases energy ), with a calorific value of 24,000 kcal / kg .

This colorless gas is lighter than air . It can be obtained by quenching volatile petroleum fragments with high-boiling oils or natural gas flames.
Acetylene is commonly obtained by reacting water with calcium carbide . This process gives rise to the appearance of acetylene and calcium hydroxide.
Uses and applications
The first uses of acetylene were in the field of lighting . The combination of low cost, ease of generation and heating power made it an ideal element to be used as lighting gas .
In this way, at the beginning of the 20th century , systems with levers, valves and other resources were devised that allowed to regulate the fall of the water on the carbide for the adequate obtaining of the gas in lamps , generators and other devices.
Over time, acetylene also began to be used in torches , cinematographs , projectors, and automobile headlights . Today it is even used for the manufacture of solvents and other products.

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