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View Full Version : Why you shouldn't store acetylene inside your car.



Evan
05-22-2013, 03:10 PM
http://www.theprovince.com/news/explodes+early+Wednesday+Vancouver+West/8419197/story.html

Just a little plumbers tank. What harm could that possibly cause???


http://ixian.ca/pics10/carboom.jpg

Peter.
05-22-2013, 03:27 PM
That's one lucky guy..

j king
05-22-2013, 03:35 PM
Wowza!

taydin
05-22-2013, 03:53 PM
I had three 6Kg cylinders of acetylene delivered to date, and all of them came in a minivan. Shrug ...

The last acetylene bottle came to replace the previous bottle which was leaking. I ended up returning the acetylene and the oxygen bottle and got my deposit back.

Evan
05-22-2013, 05:32 PM
It's amazing how much force that had.


“There is extensive damage to a number of buildings in the area, including damage as high as the 12th floor of one of the buildings,” Roder said in a press release.

(From above story)

What is so bad about acetylene is that it will detonate rather than just deflagrate. With the correct mix in an enclosed space it almost immediately switches from burning to detonation, as in high energy explosive. Acetylene is used to power shock tubes for studying shock waves.

John Stevenson
05-22-2013, 06:05 PM
Funny but true story.
As kids we used to keep rabbits for food, big row of cages down the side of the garden and me and older bro were responsible for them.
As usual with animal feed we had rats which we put traps down for but didn't know where they were living. One Sunday afternoon whilst messing with our motor bikes bro saw a rat disappear under next doors shed.

Rushed in the house to tell the old man who was having his Sunday afternoon nap. Old man told bro to go look in the garage on on the top shelf was some Calcium Carbide crystals from the old carbide lamps. Explains to bro that you used to drip water on the carbide and light the acetylene gas given off for lighting.

Throw some under the shed, poke it under with a broom stick and pump some water down with a stirrup pump, that will get rid of them.

So bro does this but misunderstands what the old man meant, so pumps some water down, waits a minute or so and throws a match down.

Jesus H Christ with a Bridgeport, tremendous bang, shed takes off, lands about 18" from where it should be all drunken and missing windows, terrible smell of sh́te from bro.

But the good news is that after we could both sit down again a few days later - no rats.

dfw5914
05-22-2013, 06:06 PM
It seems like every few years or so something like this happens. Still amazes me the amount of damage it can cause.

oxford
05-22-2013, 07:05 PM
Guy I work with(the owners son) got the bright idea to fill up balloons with acetylene from the torches because he was heading to a 4th of July party and they would make cool fireworks. Filled up all the balloons and stuffed them into a garbage bag. Headed out to the parking lot and proceeded to stuff the bag into the hatch of his car. While closing the hatch something must have gave a nice static charge and lit the bag off. Blew him right across the parking lot and the car was all burnt up. Lucky it didn't happen while he was driving. Sadly, it probably wasn't the dumbest thing this guy has done.

A.K. Boomer
05-22-2013, 07:31 PM
You can tell by the way it's all spread open like that that it was one hell of a blast.

SJ story made me laugh "smell of ****e from bro" lol that's good stuff, he was lucky too...

doctor demo
05-22-2013, 10:58 PM
So bro does this but misunderstands what the old man meant, so pumps some water down, waits a minute or so and throws a match down.

Jesus H Christ with a Bridgeport, tremendous bang, shed takes off, lands about 18" from where it should be all drunken and missing windows, terrible smell of sh́te from bro.

But the good news is that after we could both sit down again a few days later - no rats.


Clumsy bastard

Steve

darryl
05-23-2013, 12:15 AM
Best laugh I've had all week, John. Thanks for that story.

JRouche
05-23-2013, 12:51 AM
Funny but true story.

Great story. JR

flylo
05-23-2013, 01:16 AM
Our 100+ year old home has all the lights plumbed for gas which I thought strange because we still don't have natural gas available. Well the lights have been changed but all the piping is still there. I was cutting the concrete floor in the basement & found the carbide generator. They made acetylene out of carbide. Pretty cool set up for the time.

LKeithR
05-23-2013, 01:22 AM
Guy I work with(the owners son) got the bright idea to fill up balloons with acetylene from the torches because he was heading to a 4th of July party and they would make cool fireworks. Filled up all the balloons and stuffed them into a garbage bag. Headed out to the parking lot and proceeded to stuff the bag into the hatch of his car. While closing the hatch something must have gave a nice static charge and lit the bag off. Blew him right across the parking lot and the car was all burnt up. Lucky it didn't happen while he was driving. Sadly, it probably wasn't the dumbest thing this guy has done.

Anyone who's ever played with acetylene bombs knows all about this. There was a time when we used to.....oh, never mind, not a good idea to be incriminating myself...http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

darryl
05-23-2013, 01:34 AM
I'm intrigued by the idea of a carbide generator in the house to run lights. How the heck did they avoid blowing up?

Timleech
05-23-2013, 02:30 AM
One of the barges I work on was built with acetylene gas lighting from a carbide generator, some of the plumbing is still there. No electrics on board at all, originally.

Tim

flylo
05-23-2013, 02:47 AM
It was a brick lined square hole that has 2 pipes run out the side on about a 45% angle to the piping in the house. A tin box fit in the square hole which you put water in. Carbide looks like small rocks & the box dripped water on the carbide to make the gas & the weight of the box put enough pressre on the gas to push it thru the piping system. At least thats how I believe it worked. Please correct me I'm wrong. It was funny when I cut the concrete & found the tin lid I got my wife. I thought it was a box of cash or coins & she thought a dead body.LOL!:p

I'm intrigued by the idea of a carbide generator in the house to run lights. How the heck did they avoid blowing up?

The Artful Bodger
05-23-2013, 02:54 AM
We used to have portable acetylene generators for use (welding etc) in areas, such as small islands, where bottled gas was not available.

mayfieldtm
05-23-2013, 03:16 AM
In the 60's as a teenager, I worked with a drill crew in the Arizona desert.
Time to go home "numb-nuts" (can't remember his name) was squirting acetylene into his carburetor trying to get his rig started.
We decided to get the hell out of there, so about a 1/2 mile up the mountain road we heard an explosion!
Rushing back we found numb-nuts staggering around, missing half of his t-shirt and singed most of what little hair he had.
Kinda looked like a desert road runner. Whenever we would call him that, he would get all pissed off.
He turned out OK but his carburetor was blown clean off.

Tom M.

flylo
05-23-2013, 03:20 AM
I understand the early welding shops made they're own. I have a working oxegen generator from a 12 bay muffler shop & it's mate for a spare. Did you have those also?

Jaakko Fagerlund
05-23-2013, 04:00 AM
The news story has once again proved that nobody knows a thing of what they write. The key fob definately was not the source of the ignition, but the electric DC motors and/or solenoids that unlock the car.

The Artful Bodger
05-23-2013, 06:06 AM
Bottled acetylene was what the shipping companies refused to carry but we had oxygen in bottles.

The ships would also not carry bottled hydrogen so we had ways to 'make' that too for the weather balloons. The big balloons needed quite a bit, a 12 gallon barrel of caustic soda, several small sacks of aluminium swarf and hot running water all went into a stainless steel apparatus to release the hydrogen. BTW, remember those mobile biological weapons trucks they found in Iraq? Funny thing but they were just like the hydrogen generator systems we had.

BigMike782
05-23-2013, 08:07 AM
People never seem to learn that compressed gases should not be inside an enclosed vehicle.
http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/explosion-in-southfield-rocks-neighborhood

If you stop the second video at 42 seconds,see how many B tanks you count.

J Tiers
05-23-2013, 08:18 AM
I'm intrigued by the idea of a carbide generator in the house to run lights. How the heck did they avoid blowing up?

Hmmm....

Grandpa's aunts house had a system that bubbled air through a barrel of gasoline and ran the "gas" lights from the resulting mixture. The gasoline was shipped in from the old Standard Oil company, and wasn't the new crap, it was old-time "real" gasoline. Wasn't any gas company service there.

Every few months they got another barrel, after the old one got down to the heavy oil dregs in the bottom.

Oh, yeah, these were wooden barrels.

Somehow that just doesn't sound like a good system, but apparently it worked OK. A big wooden barrel of gasoline in the basement? Sheesh.

Dr Stan
05-23-2013, 08:35 AM
In a hundred years or so I wonder what technologies we use will be viewed in a "they did what!" type of vein.

vpt
05-23-2013, 08:35 AM
Anyone here see that nitrous bottle explosion awhile back? I believe the story is the guy replaced the blow off cap with something "temporary" because it was leaking. Then either had his bottle warmer wired to a toggle and left it on or didn't have the bottle open with the heater on. Either way:

http://ls1tech.com/forums/attachments/nitrous-oxide/171895d1237820510-bottle-exploded-nos_bottle_explosionpic1.jpg

http://www.tamparacing.com/photopost/data/500/NOS_bottle_explosionPic4.jpg

LKeithR
05-23-2013, 08:58 AM
We used to have portable acetylene generators for use (welding etc) in areas, such as small islands, where bottled gas was not available.

Back in '69 when I first started my business an old guy from Ohio--don't ask me how he got all the way out to B.C.--had a machine shop a couple miles up the road from me. He had a whole bunch of old American iron in there but one of the things I remember was that he had a carbide generator set up. It looked like a vertical cylinder with a lid that clamped on the top--something like a pressure cooker. When you removed the lid it exposed a basket that held the carbide granules and a little cup that held water. My memory is a bit vague but there was a valve of some sort that allowed you to control the flow of the water. As it dripped onto the carbide it created the acetylene gas which built up pressure in the vessel. You tapped the gas off with a hose to the torches and...voila!

A.K. Boomer
05-23-2013, 09:27 AM
Both fast reacting and powerful, this kind of damage without even "trying" --- I would expect acetylene to be next on the list for heavy sales regulations... imagine if you actually tried to contain it? not good...

Stern
05-23-2013, 10:37 AM
I never cease to be amazed at some of the dumb stuff people do, especially when dealing with stuff they know little about lol. Acetylene is NOT like many other pressurized flammable gasses, it is VERY reactive. You can NOT pressurize acetylene gas alone, as it will spontaneously explode, and that's why the tanks are filled with a porous mesh and the gas is dissolved into acetone. Its not only sensitive to spark/flame, but alone its really sensitive to shock. I have small tanks that I sometimes must take to a site, but avoid transporting them in a closed vehicle, and sure would never leave one there. There is a reason that DOT Canada has strict rules on storage and transport of acetylene.

Lew Hartswick
05-23-2013, 10:59 AM
As long time caver back in the 50s, acetylene light was the ONLY thing to use.
Always available no matter how far back in. Batteries and tungsten bulbs just
not RELIABLE enough. :-)
...lew...

Evan
05-23-2013, 12:19 PM
I am still trying to imagine what the plumber thought the instant after he pressed the button on his key fob to open the locks. You do it sort of without thinking. Well, the car doors opened all right. WIDE open. They show pics on TV last night. It really did blow in widows on the 12th floor. The shock wave must have been tremendous. Directly across the street a woman had just stepped into the bathroom, the only part of her apartment without windows. 1 second later it blew and all the glass passed behind her horizontally.

cuslog
05-23-2013, 01:12 PM
I'm wondering how the insurance company is going to look at this.
I'm thinking he may not get any insurance coverage because he was transporting / storing the acetylene contrary to regulations.
Lucky no one was killed. Expensive lesson none the less.

bob_s
05-23-2013, 02:03 PM
... I thought it was a box of cash or coins & she thought a dead body.LOL!:p

Keep looking Eric. ... Jimmy Hoffa's got to be somewhere!

bhowden
05-23-2013, 06:17 PM
Wow, does this thread bring back memories! I saw the same picture in the local paper this morning. I must admit I am very surprised that it did THAT much damage. We also wasted a lot of my friends fathers ox/accet filling dry cleaning bags. Very very loud band but nothing like that amount of force. I used to buy Ca2C and sell it to friends to drop in puddles and light. Also used it for caving. One of the men working in the saw mill I worked in while going through school was in a camper that had a propane leak. Peeled the whole thing open with him in side when he lit the stove. He came into work the next day still in a fog. When they found he was passing blood they shipped him off to the doctor but he survived fine. Ah, the stupidity and fun of youth.....

Brian

quasi
05-23-2013, 08:48 PM
acetylene has become so expensive around here most people have switched to Propane for their torches.

Evan
05-23-2013, 09:06 PM
That's alright for heating and cutting but not good enough for gas welding.

Duffy
05-24-2013, 11:21 AM
For those who want some info on acetylene generators, look up, (or google,) Kipp generators. We hade one in a chemistry lab Looooong ago. That one was glass, and consisted of three compartments. I am a bit fuzzy on the exact construction, but the solid material, (calcium carbide for acetylene, zinc spelter for hydrogen, rock salt for chlorine, and the list goes on,) went in the bottom compartment, and I THINK the reagent liguid went in the top compartment, were it was introduced to the bottom compartment by means of a tube extending almost to the bottom. The middle compartment was the gas accumulator and connected directly to the bottom compartment.
The operation was sledge hammer simple:- turn on the liquid valve and liquid ran, by gravity, into the bottom compartment where evolving gas rose to the middle compartment. A valve and pipe, (or hose,) led the gas away. Shut off the gas valve and the pressure built up in the lower compartment, forcing the liquid back up the tube, and the reaction stopped. Remember the Bunn coffee makers?
These generators were often quite large and used to supply houses and estates of the wealthy. The Kipp generator that I referred to was a standard piece of laboratory equipment before bottled gas was a telephone call away.
By the way, the very simplest units were either bicycle lamps and miner's and/or spellunker's lamps with the bonus that they gave some heat as well as light. A pound can of carbide would run one of those lamps a long time.