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Features of Acetylene:
- the hottest and most efficient of all the fuel gases, increasing productivity
- uses oxygen efficiently, reducing costs
- lighter than air, so will not accumulate at low levels, and is safe to use underground
- low ignition energy
- low moisture content flame
- non-toxic (may cause dizziness in high concentrations).
- Together, oxygen and acetylene produce a flame temperature of approximately 3150°C - the only gas hot enough to weld steel
- An oxy-acetylene flame gives good localised heating, reducing wasted heat
- Oxy-acetylene provides the fastest pre-heating and piecing times of any fuel gas combination
- When oxy-acetylene is used in the cutting processes, an improved cut quality, higher cutting speed, and faster cut initiation time 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.
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.
As with any gas there are some hazards and you can find out more about the safe handling and risks of acetylene in our helpful acetylene guide.