Calcium Carbide – The Illuminating Chemical Compound

Just like with other calcium compounds that contains the suffix -ide in their names, calcium carbide is not also associated in the production of calcium-based supplements. It is commonly used on modern industrial applications as well. Read on the preceding contents of this article and learn more.

Chemical Compound Reaction

Bearing the chemical formula CaC2, it is produced through the process of electrostatic discharge by means of mixing carbon and lime at high temperature. When reacted with water, it produces acetylene. Such reaction is the principle behind the production of dissolved acetylene which is the only modern industrial use.


The most common application is on so-called carbide lamps (also known as acetylene lamps) wherein it uses acetylene gas which is produced by means of combining the chemical compound and water. Such lamps were formerly used in mines.

Calcium carbide in this application takes the form of small pellets or chunks that is placed on the lower chamber of the lamp. Its upper chamber is filled with another reactant, which is water. There is a screw valve or similar mechanism which controls the drip rate of water to the lower chamber where it is stored. Such water drip rate control results to the production of acetylene gas. It results in control of the size of the flame as well as the quantity of light that it produces.

The reaction of water generates enough quantity of heat apart from the flame. In cold cave conditions, the heat can be used to save someone from hypothermia.

After the entire quantity has reacted with water, the lower chamber contains now a wet paste of calcium hydroxide or caustic lime which is emptied in order to be refilled for the next usage. The caustic lime is toxic on humans and animals and must be deposited on a place wherein no one will be affected.

The next application is the flare which is a type of pyrotechnic that emits a brilliant light as well as intense heat without the occurrence of an explosion. It is commonly used as a signal and illumination (especially on small fishing boats) as well as defensive counter measures in military and civilian applications.

It is only handled within industrial production. Individuals who work with this chemical compound always take some precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incident that may happen due to mishandling of calcium carbide.