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Features of Dissolved Acetylene:

  • the hottest and most efficient of all the fuel gases, providing high levels of productivity
  • very efficient use of oxygen
  • lighter than air and will not accumulate at low levels
  • low ignition energy
  • low moisture content flame
  • non-toxic (may cause dizziness in high concentrations)

Benefits

  • oxygen and acetylene together produce a flame temperature of approximately 3150°C.
  • the oxy-acetylene flame gives very good localised heating with a minimum of wasted heat.
  • in cutting, oxy-acetylene gives the fastest preheating and piercing times of any fuel gas combination.
  • in oxy-acetylene cutting processes, improved cut quality, higher cutting speed, faster cut initiation time and reduced oxygen use are achieved.
  • when used with either oxygen or air, acetylene can produce a thin layer of black carbon particles. This can prevent components sticking in their moulds.
  • unused gas will not collect in low-lying areas, ducts and drains causing a potential hazard.
  • acetylene is stored in specially-designed cylinders to prevent decomposition.
  • the flame has a low moisture content making it a good choice for many critical heating applications.

Application and use

  • cutting
  • flame heating
  • flame gouging
  • gas welding.  The only fuel gas which can be used to weld steel
  • flame hardening.  An oxy-acetylene flame can be used where the hardened surface of carbon steel components is either in situ as a remedial process or on components too large to fit in a furnace
  • flame cleaning.  A wide oxy-acetylene flame is held very close to a steel surface to be cleaned
  • flame straightening where the precise and efficient flame properties are used to remove distortion in plate material
  • thermal spraying of various metals and ceramics.  The material to be sprayed is fed through the flame
  • spot-heating applications
  • brazing
  • texturing
  • profile-cutting
  • branding wooden pallets
  • wood-ageing
  • glass and metal castings
  • mould release and other anti-stick applications
  • the only fuel gas recommended for use in underground working conditions

Please note:  in any confined spaces, extraction devices should be used to remove any potentially dangerous by-products.

Material compatibility

Acetylene can ignite and burn instantly from a spark or piece of hot metal.

It can form explosive acetylide compounds with some metals, most notably copper, silver and mercury. 

Please note:  copper alloys containing less than 65% copper and silver solder containing less than 43% silver are considered safe.

Hoses used with acetylene are coloured red and are designed to resist acetone.  For this reason other fuel gas hoses must not be used.

For a full list of materials which are not allowed or are recommended only under certain conditions, please consult BCGA Codes of Practice CP5 and CP6.

Hazards

  • care must be taken when using acetylene as it is an asphyxiant.
  • acetylene is highly reactive.  It is dissolved in acetone and contained within a porous mass inside the cylinder.
  • acetylene can react over time with some metals to form explosive acetylides.
  • acetylene is slightly lighter than air and will collect at ceiling level.

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