Feedback: Safety of Acetylene cylinders

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Offline thedoc

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Feedback: Safety of Acetylene cylinders
« on: 06/02/2016 12:50:01 »
Peter Crawford asked the Naked Scientists:
   Chris, was listening to Ask the Naked Scientists on 26.7.13 and there was a question on Acetylene Cylinders and their safety. I  was intrigued and decided to research this myself.
Safety is the main apparent reason for its transportation upright in cylinders. Acetone could leak out through the valve if lying down and would be corrosive. It is extremely unstable and corrosive if expelled in this way. Also, the issue of heating of the cylinder in a horizontal position, risk of shearing or compression in an accident and the idea that if a flame was ejected whilst lying horizontally it was be much longer than in an upright position.
Love your show but thought I must correct this.
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/02/2016 12:50:01 by _system »


Offline SeanB

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Re: Feedback: Safety of Acetylene cylinders
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/2016 09:25:11 »
Acetone leaking out means there is a space forming in the cylinder that is going to be filled with acetylene gas under pressure. Any sharp impact will then have a good possibility of starting the decomposition of this gas, which will burst the cylinder from the sudden pressure spike and rise in temperature.

 Funny thing is the bulk tankers that transport acetylene gas are bundles of large pressure vessels, with the inside filled with the usual pumice and acetone, and with a gas dip tube inserted so it will be at the top of the cylinder when it is in the tanker on it's side. Hard to miss a truck that has a brilliant red paint job, flashing orange lights on top and sides, and a massive steel frame with  horizontal cylinders bolted inside with massive steel piping connecting them.

Acetylene, lovely gas for very high heat in a small place, but not to be trifled with when pressurised. Same with high pressure oxygen, where any oil will cause a flame.