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What is Calcium Carbide? Please see the information.

Calcium carbide, CaC2 when pure, is transparent and colourless, with a specific gravity of
2.22 at 180oC. It may be prepared in the laboratory by the thermal decomposition under vacuum of pure calcium cyanamide in the presence of carbon to produce absolutely white calcium carbide. Pure CaC2 is variety, and the general properties of calcium carbide have been determined by extrapolation from values obtained on high - purity commercial carbide.


Commercial calcium carbide varies in colour from Steel-grey to reddish brown, depending on impurities and the method of manufacture. It is made from lime and coke in the electric furnace at temperature of 2200 - 2500oC, using large amount of electric power.

Industrial calcium carbide is about 80% pure remaining is calcium oxide and 2-5% other impurities. Its outstanding property is that of reacting with water to produce acetylene gas.


Commercial calcium carbide is the main source of acetylene, and acetylene is used principally in the synthesis of a series of organic chemicals, resins, and plastics and in oxyacetylene welding and cutting of metals. Large amounts of carbide are also made for the production of calcium cyanamide by the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. The cyanamide is, in turn, used as a fertilizer and as the basis for a series of chemicals and resins. Smaller amounts of calcium carbide are used as a dehydrating agent and as a reducing and desulfurizing agent in metallurgical processes.


Calcium carbide was made in the laboratory by early workers such as Hare and Wohler. It also was formed as a side reaction product in various industrial processes, but it was not isolated or recognized.

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