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Calcium Carbide

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  • greenhouse
    replied
    My father had a couple of these lanterns. I cannot seem to be able to post a pic, but google "carbide lantern" and you will see them. Ours were made of brass, had a shiny backplate, and was lit like using a cigarette lighter. We had a can of "carbide" for years, We used to get the lanterns out from time to time, scoop out some carbide chunks from the can and set them into the bottom of the lantern, add water, make gas, and light it up. That carbide in the can was around for years, 20+, and it still was potent. Dad said that over the years though, the carbide chunks diminished in potency. I didn't know for when I was playing with it, the stuff was already 15 years old or so.

    Below a description of how it works:

    Calcium Carbide Stoves and Lanterns (Acetylene Stove/Lamp)

    A chemical reaction between calcium carbide and water produces acetylene, calcium oxide and heat. The acetylene is then burned for light and/or heat. This very old technology is still a favorite among many cavers and newer head mounted lanterns are still produced today. These setups may not be ideal for backpacking as the hard to find fuel must be kept dry to avoid igniting while in your pack and its byproducts include caustic calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) and calcium oxide (CaO aka Lime), chemicals you don't want in your pack. This stove type is only mentioned for those seeking superfluous trivia, tinkers looking for a unique project and in the interest of being complete (at the expense of practicality).



    Choose this stove if:

    you like to be very different

    you own one of the few portable carbide stoves left in existence and want to show it off

    Avoid this stove if:
    practicality and/or safety are important to you

    CaC2 + H2O → C2H2 + CaO + heat

    2C2H2 + 5O2 → 4CO2 + 2H2O + heat


    Resources:

    J K Dey and Sons (google them, they deal with lanterns, etc)

    Lehman's Hardware (google search, and also, lots of great self-sufficient stuff)

    Regards
    greenhouse

    Leave a comment:


  • TLM
    replied
    Originally posted by Rustyshakelford View Post
    Where do I get this mystery chemical? Preferably in 10 lbs boxes or bags.
    Lehmans still carries it:

    http://www.lehmans.com/jump.jsp?item...CT&itemID=1659

    Leave a comment:


  • Rustyshakelford
    replied
    Originally posted by TLM View Post
    Was used in miners lanterns and headlights.

    Cool retro item but an LED headlamp is a much better modern alternative.
    Where do I get this mystery chemical? Preferably in 10 lbs boxes or bags.

    Leave a comment:


  • TLM
    replied
    Was used in miners lanterns and headlights.

    Cool retro item but an LED headlamp is a much better modern alternative.

    Leave a comment:


  • methusaleh
    replied
    IIRC calcium carbide has an interesting reaction when soaked with water...kind of like taking white phosphorous out of water...not sure if I am thinking of the right material though!

    Leave a comment:


  • Rustyshakelford
    replied
    Originally posted by Visinedrops View Post
    I've experimented with miner-grade Calcium Carbide in the past, and even had a lantern that would use it. (The lantern had to be thrown out due to a busted vent screw which also supplied the water...it would supply too much water and it turned into a carbide cutting torch).

    Anyway, was curious to know if anyone has considered adding this to their list of supplies?
    Ok...please....pretty please tell me about this. Sounds like another weekend project for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Diesel
    replied
    educate me on it

    Leave a comment:


  • Visinedrops
    started a topic Calcium Carbide

    Calcium Carbide

    I've experimented with miner-grade Calcium Carbide in the past, and even had a lantern that would use it. (The lantern had to be thrown out due to a busted vent screw which also supplied the water...it would supply too much water and it turned into a carbide cutting torch).

    Anyway, was curious to know if anyone has considered adding this to their list of supplies?
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