Phosphates and chemical manures; calcitim carbide; explosivi powder; dynamite and other explosives.
Other theories of a like nature were brought forward by various chemists, Mendeleeff, for example, ascribing the formation of petroleum to the action of water at high temperatures on iron carbide in the interior of the earth.
It is a centre of the iron and steel industries, producing principally cast steel, cast iron, iron pipes, wire and wire ropes, and lamps, with tin and zinc works, coal-mining, factories for carpets, calcium carbide and paper-roofing, brickworks and breweries.
Calcium cyanamide has assumed importance in agriculture since the discovery of its economic production in the electric furnace, wherein calcium carbide takes up nitrogen from the atmosphere to form the cyanamide with the simultaneous liberation of carbon.
For silicon carbide see carborundum.
There is a third class of operations, exemplified by the manufacture of calcium carbide, in which electricity is employed.
Calcium carbide production) the' heat from the current is employed in raising mixtures of substances to the temperature at which a desired chemical reaction will take place between them, while in others (e.g.
For the production of calcium carbide) in which a portion of the charge is first actually fused, and then maintained in the molten condition by the current passing through it, while the reaction between further portions of the charge is proceeding.
Ordinarily carbon is used as the electrode material, but when carbon comes in contact at high temperatures with any metal that is capable of forming a carbide a certain amount of combination between them is inevitable, and the carbon thus introduced impairs the mechanical properties of the ultimate metallic product.
When prolonged heating is required at very high temperatures it is found necessary to line the furnace-cavity with alternate layers of magnesia and carbon, taking care that the lamina next to the lime is of magnesia; if this were not done the lime in contact with the carbon crucible would form calcium carbide and would slag down, but magnesia does not yield a carbide in this way.
The arc furnaces now widely used in the manufacture of calcium carbide on a large scale are chiefly developments of the Siemens furnace.
The class of furnaces heated by electrically incandescent materials has been divided by Borchers into two groups: (I) those in which the substance is heated by contact form at least so much carbide as would suffice, when diffused through the metal, to render it brittle, practically restricts the use of such processes to the production of aluminium alloys.
Calcium carbide, graphite, phosphorus and carborundum are now extensively manufactured by the operations outlined above.
Strontium carbide, SrC2, is obtained by heating strontium carbonate with carbon in the electric furnace.
It resembles calcium carbide, decomposing rapidly with water, giving acetylene.
Calcium carbide and phosphorus manufacture) they are not truly metallurgical in character.
For the theory and elemental laws of electro-deposition see Electrolysis; and for the construction and use of electric generators see Dynamo and Battery: Electric. The importance of the subject may be gauged by the fact that all the aluminium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium carbide, carborundum and artificial graphite, now placed on the market, is made by electrical processes, and that the use of such processes for the refining of copper and silver, and in the manufacture of phosphorus, potassium chlorate and bleach, already pressing very heavily on the older non-electrical systems, is every year extending.
If a few pieces of carbide be dropped into saturated chlorine water the bubbles of gas take I.
A, l by the action of water upon calcium carbide, prepared}' p fire as they reach the surface, and if a jet of acetylene be passed up into a bottle of chlorine it takes fire and burns with a heavy red flame, depositing its carbon in the form of soot.
Before the commercial production of calcium carbide made it one of the most easily obtainable gases, the processes which were most largely adopted for its preparation in laboratories were: - first, the decomposition of ethylene bromide by dropping it slowly into a boiling solution of alcoholic potash, and purifying the evolved gas from the volatile bromethylene by washing it through a second flask containing a boiling solution of alcoholic potash, or by passing it over moderately heated soda lime; and, second, the more ordinarily adopted process of passing the products of incomplete combustion from a Bunsen burner, the flame of which had struck back, through an ammoniacal solution of cuprous chloride, when the red copper acetylide was produced.
Wohler first made calcium carbide, and found that water decomposed it into lime and acetylene.
In the manufacture of calcium carbide in the electric furnace, lime and anthracite of the Manufac- highest possible degree of purity are employed.
About 1.8 lb of this is used up for each pound of carbide produced.
The two principal processes utilized in making calcium carbide by electrical power are the ingot process and the tapping process.
Pure crystalline calcium carbide yields 5.8 cubic feet of acetylene per pound at ordinary temperatures, but the carbide as sold commercially, being a mixture of the pure crystalline material with the crust which in the electric furnace surrounds the ingot, yields at the best 5 cubic feet of gas per pound under proper conditions of generation.
The volume of gas obtained, however, depends very largely upon the form of apparatus used, and while some will give the full volume, other apparatus will only yield, with the same carbide, 34 feet.
The purity of the carbide entirely depends on the purity of the material used in its manufacture, and before this fact had been fully grasped by manufacturers, and only the purest material obtainable employed, it contained notable quantities of compounds which during its decomposition by water yielded a somewhat high pro portion of impurities in the acetylene generated from it.
Although at the present time a marvellous improvement has taken place all round in the quality of the carbide produced, the acetylene nearly always contains minute traces of hydrogen, ammonia, sulphuretted hydrogen, phosphuretted hydrogen, silicon hydride, nitrogen and oxygen, and sometimes minute traces of carbon monoxide and dioxide.
The formation of hydrogen is caused by small traces of metallic calcium occasionally found free in the carbide, and cases have been known where this was present in such quantities that the evolved gas contained nearly 20% of hydrogen.
This takes place when in the manufacture of the carbide the material is kept too long in contact with the arc, since this overheating causes the dissociation of some of the calcium carbide and the solution of metallic calcium in the remainder.
On decomposition by water, ammonia is produced by the action of steam or of nascent hydrogen on the nitride, the quantity formed depending very largely upon the temperature at which the carbide is decomposed.
In the early samples of carbide this compound used to be present in considerable quantity, but now rarely more than% is to be found.
In the generation of acetylene from calcium carbide and water, all that has to be done is to bring these two compounds into contact, when they mutually react upon each other with the formation of lime and acetylene, while, if there be sufficient water present, the lime combines with it to form calcium hydrate.
The decomposition of the carbide by water may be brought about either by bringing the water slowly into contact with an excess of carbide, or by dropping the carbide into an excess of water, and these two main operations again may be varied by innumerable ingenious devices by which the rapidity of the contact may be modified or even eventually stopped.
The result is that although the forms of apparatus utilized for this purpose are all based on the one fundamental principle of bringing about the contact of the carbide with the water which is to enter into double decomposition with it, they have been multiplied in number to a very large extent by the methods employed in order to ensure control in working, and to get away from the dangers and inconveniences which are inseparable from a too rapid generation.
The first class may again be subdivided into generators in which the water rises in contact with the carbide, in which it drips upon the carbide, and in which a vessel full of carbide is lowered into water and again withdrawn as generation becomes excessive.
Another set merely aims at developing the gas from the carbide and putting it into a storageholder with as little ï¿½ loss as possible, and these are termed "boiled" after being formed.
It is found that the ingot of calcium carbide formed in the furnace, although itself consisting of pure crystalline calcium carbide, is nearly always surrounded by a crust which contains a certain proportion of imperfectly converted constituents, and therefore gives a lower yield of acetylene than the carbide itself.
In breaking up and sending out the carbide for commercial work, packed in air-tight drums, the crust is removed by a sand blast.
The carbide is heated to complete liquefaction and tapped at short intervals.
The run carbide, however, is never so rich as the ingot carbide, since an excess of lime is nearly always used in the mixture to act as a flux, and this remaining in the carbide lowers its gasyielding power.
Calcium carbide, as formed in the electric furnace, is a beautiful crystalline semi-metallic solid, having a density of 2.22, and showing a fracture which is often shot with iridescent "non-automatic."
When carbide is acted upon by water considerable heat is evolved; indeed, the action develops about one-twentieth of the heat evolved by the combustion of carbon.
As, however, the temperature developed is a function of the time needed to complete the action, the degree of heat attained varies with every form of generator, and while the water in one form may never reach the boiling-point, the carbide in another may become red-hot and give a temperature of over 800° C. Heating in a generator is not only a source of danger, but also lessens the yield of gas and deteriorates its quality.
The best forms of generator are either those in which water rises slowly in contact with the carbide, or the second main division in which the carbide falls into excess of water.
Butterfield, Calcium Carbide and Acetylene (1903); F.
The carbide, SmC2, is formed when the oxide is heated with carbon in the electric furnace.
Alcohol is produced by fermentation from vegetable substances containing starch or sugar, from fermentable sugars produced by the hydrolysis of cellulosic bodies, and synthetically from calcium carbide and from the ethylene contained in coal and coke-oven gases.
Its manufacture from carbide is only possible where very cheap power is available, and its conversion from the quantities of ethylene removable from coal and coke-oven gas, even should a cheap process be worked out, is not likely to add very materially to the world's liquid-fuel supplies.
The manufacture of alcohol from the sulphite lyes of the wood-pulp industry was contemplated, but carbide, although produced in increasing quantities, was not considered as a possible raw material owing to its greater importance as a source of the fertilizer cyanamide.