Tuesday, May 25, 2010



Acetylene is a colorless gas that has multiple industrial and practical uses. Its most commonly known use is welding, but it has been used for lighting, cutting metal, synthesizing other chemicals, and even carbon dating.

The chemical formula for acetylene, also known as ethyne, is C2H2, with a single alkyne bond which causes the molecule to have linear geometry. These chemical attributes make this an extremely unique compound.

This gas was discovered in 1836 by English chemist Edmund Davy, who found it by accidentally producing potassium carbide. Exposing potassium carbide to the humidity of the atmosphere produces acetylene. Davy stated that this gas would be a great source of illumination if efficient production could be developed. It wasn't until 1860 that the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot devised multiple methods of synthesis, and coined the name acetylene.

Historically, the most practical uses for acetylene were all lighting forms. For some time many street lamps were fueled by acetylene, and carbide lamps were used as vehicle headlights. The most common application of acetylene today is oxyacetylene gas welding.

Acetylene has many chemical synthesis applications as well. As a raw material, it can be used to make vinyl compounds, acrylics, and benzene among others.

Making acetylene is a fairly trivial process. All that's needed is calcium carbide and water. Of course, this is a very inefficient path of acetylene production since calcium carbide requires temperatures of 2000 degrees Celcius to create. Contemporary industrial production employs the partial combustion of methane. The methane used in acetylene production is typically from natural gas.





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Friday, November 07, 2008


I haven't been using pheromones for awhile now. These days I'm in Pharma, which doesn't pay as well as I thought it would. It's still neat science though.

My favorite drug: placebo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm in the business of pheromones now. No, not for people, for bugs. Mostly moths. You see, spraying an area of orchard with pheromones will confuse the moths trying to mate, thus making them think there is a mate everywhere, when in fact there is one no where. In other words, no baby's, no troubles. I guess this is closer to biology, but I work with the pheromones, so there's the chemistry.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Arosols are being released into the atmosphere much like carbon dioxide is. Arosols on the other hand cool the atmosphere rather than heat it, slightly offsetting the effects of global warming. Carbon dioxide adds about two and a half times more heat into the world than arosols take out. To me, the solution to global warming is obvious: Use more arosols to save the planet.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Spectroscopy is where it's at! Shootin' lasers into stuff and exciting molecules; life doesn't get much better than that.

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