ACETYLENE DETECTION

Acetylene

Acetylene is a colourless gas with a faint ether odour in its pure form but a garlic odour (due to impurities) in its industrial form. It burns in air with a smoky flame but with a bright, intensely hot flame in oxygen, leading to its major use as the fuel in oxy-acetylene welding/cutting applications. Acetylene is non-poisonous and mildly anaesthetic in its pure form, any toxic effects being due to impurities (such as phosphine) in the industrial form and, of course, carbon monoxide due to combustion in a confined space.

Acetylene Characteristics
Synonyms Ethyne, Ethine
CAS No. 74-86-2
Chemical Formula C2H2
Vapour Density 0.9 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES TWA Not applicable – simple asphyxiant
STEL Not applicable – simple asphyxiant
Flammable Limits LEL 2.3 % by volume
UEL 100 % by volume (1)
Equipment Group IIC
Temperature Classification T2
Chemical/Physical Properties Acetylene is a colourless gas with a faint ether odour in its pure form but a garlic odour (due to impurities) in its industrial form. It burns in air with a smoky flame but with a bright, intensely hot flame in oxygen.
Hazardous Properties Acetylene is non-poisonous and mildly anaesthetic in its pure form, any toxic effects being due to impurities (such as phosphine) in the industrial form and, of course, carbon monoxide due to combustion in a confined space. 
Occurrence/Uses The high temperature of its flame when burnt in oxygen leads to its major use as the fuel in oxy-acetylene welding/cutting applications.
Detectors Available Catalytic bead (0 – 100% LEL)
Gas detector tube (50 – 1,000 ppm)
Suggested Alarm Levels Lo: 5 % LEL 
Hi: 10 % LEL
Notes (1) Acetylene is unstable when pressurised and, under certain conditions (intense heat and shockwave), can decompose explosively without the presence of oxygen.

 

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