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Its winter in Australia at the moment and i'm cold. Today i found a few kilo's of Calcium Carbide (CaC2) which, if you react it with water, produces a sizable quantity of acetylene gas. I use it with this device for lighting at the moment but i'm wondering if its possible to make my own gas heater out of the stuff (we don't have gas lines here only electricity which is expensive). Acetylene gas burns quite hot so i'm not sure if there are many materials that can handle that heat

Is it possible/practical/safe to make my own gas heater using acetylene?

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Probably, but unless you know what you're doing and are prepared for several years of experimentation. Please don't risk blowing up your home and your family! –  Matt Jul 10 '13 at 22:54
    
@Matt Its alright, its my warehouse, and just myself! :D –  NULLZ Jul 10 '13 at 23:19
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DO NOT USE ANY COPPER IN ANYTHING THAT COMES IN CONTACT WITH ACETYLENE - COPPER ACETYLIDE IS EXPLOSIVE. Acetylene flowing through copper pipe produces a white explosive salt that is sensitive to heat and shock. Makes great cutting torch tips but not any piping that gets it there. –  Fiasco Labs Jul 11 '13 at 1:43
    
@FiascoLabs many thanks for that heads up. Sounds like this will be a bit to impractical to do so i'll stick to my first plan and put on some more jumpers :) –  NULLZ Jul 19 '13 at 10:36
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

1983 Patent: Acetylene stove or heater uses Ca Carbide. Seems to me that the water drippy thing could be hard to control over a long period. Plus, the wet residue is likely to annoy as well. If I could, I'd go with propane instead.

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I'm just looking for a creative way to use up some of my spare carbide from caving :) That patent looks more or less like a modern conventional gas camp stove –  NULLZ Jul 10 '13 at 13:42
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@D3C4FF Yeah, not an exciting patent, but I like them because whoever comes up with one usually takes pain to circumvent the 'blowing yourself up' aspects inherent in rolling your own from scratch. –  Wayfaring Stranger Jul 10 '13 at 13:59
    
I wonder if a modification to the principles of diy tin can alochol stoves with the addition of water drip-tube regulated by a valve (in order to get the appropriate acetylene generation for balanced air/fuel) would be work. Of course, I don't know that I'd want to use any homemade solution inside. –  Jacob S Jul 10 '13 at 17:32
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Possible - yes

Practical - doubtful

Safe - maybe

Acetylene generation has a number of risks, a few of which are:

  • Explosions from over generation (of acetylene)
  • Contaminates (in CaC2) forming unintended byproducts during hydration (Phosphine and Arsine )
  • Necessity of storing known byproduct, Ca(OH)2 (limewater)
  • Necessity to intake O2 and exhaust byproducts of acetylene oxidation (burning)

Seems like a lot of fuss for a few kilos worth of benefit.

Maybe if you put a couple of lamps inside a wood burning stove that was vented properly...

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Makes one hell of a bang when you have the fuel mix right. An Acetylene/Oxygen balloon is a FAE device that will remove all the windows in your house and burst your eardrums. (Highschool experience, glad I was absent that day in welding shop, there's metal mesh in those windows for a reason and there's always one fool willing to play with bodily damage) –  Fiasco Labs Jul 11 '13 at 1:46
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