Carbide Cannons & Miners’ Lamps – The Chemistry?

Chemistry, Technology
When I was a kid, a friend showed me what he called an acetylene cannon. Many know it as a carbide cannon. What made it work? It's all a matter of chemistry. Which Carbide? A carbide is a compound in which carbon is bonded to a more electropositive element. Silicon carbide (SiC) and tungsten carbide (WC) are two well-known examples. What carbide do carbide cannons use? Calcium Carbide The answer is calcium carbide. Lime and coke are placed in an electric furnace. The chemical reaction is: CaO + 3 C → CaC2 + CO2↑ What makes calcium oxide so interesting is its bonding. The valence of calcium is +2. Ordinarily, carbon is assigned a valence of 4. Something's strange here... The puzzle is solved if we write the structure of…
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