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cadmium carbide, also known as calcium acetylide, is a highly reactive solid that decomposes upon contact with water to produce flammable acetylene gas and calcium hydroxide. It is a key component in the production of acetylene and calcium cyanamide, and it is used in many applications.
History and Chemical Properties
Cadmium is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust and it is found in a variety of ores. The most common cadmium-containing ores are calcite, marble, and limestone.
It is important in the production of phosphors for television picture tubes and it is used to make batteries. It is also a critical component in the production of cadmium pigments and coatings.
More About the Compound
cadmium carbide is formed from the reduction of calcium oxide (lime) by carbon. During the process, impurities such as sulfur and phosphorus are reduced and dissolved in molten calcium carbide.
Several commercial processes are used to manufacture calcium carbide. They include heating a mixture of lime and coke to 2.200 deg C in an electric arc furnace and the reaction with water.
The most important industrial use of calcium carbide is the generation of acetylene from this compound by reacting it with water. The acetylene is then used as a fuel in the steelmaking process to extend the scrap ratio, or as a deoxidizer at ladle treatment facilities.
Other uses of acetylene are as a lighting agent for automobiles and in marine buoys, which replaced oil because they provided a far brighter flame. This technology was popular in the 19th century but was soon replaced by compressed acetylene generators.