Saturday, December 27, 2008

Homemade carbide lamp (acetylene lamp) with household instruments

Acetylene lamps, called carbide lamps are the primary sources of light in many rural shops. Though they use a different type of setting(that is like a very crude form of Kipp's apparatus), but ours is still good and when you get experienced, you can even generate enough acetylene to survive a little power cut.

Enjoy and don't burn anything!

Items you need:
1. A used jotter type refill
2. A small(4-7 inch long) glass bottle

3. A cork/rubber cap that fits into the mouth of the bottle
4. Calcium Carbide(Commercially known as carbide), available at lime(quick lime) shops at local markets or chemist shops.

5. Clean water
6. Matches
First of all, punch a hole in the middle of the cork/rubber cap. Take the refill and remove its tip with tongs or something alike. Remove the back plastic of it, too. Now blow from the back to get the remaining ink out of it. Wash it well and insert into the hole of the bottle cap.

Now pour a little (1-2 inches) water into the bottle, drop 2-3 tiny pieces of carbide. You will immediately see a gas forming with bubbles and the water getting turbid.

Now put on the cap and hold a lighted matchstick/lighter on the end of the refill. The acetylene will glow with a very luminous flame. The flame is so bright that it is sometimes difficult to stare at it.

HAZARD: Air and acetylene mixes to form a very explosive mixture, so give some time between adding carbide and lighting fire to let all the air go out of the bottle, or it may explode. 15-30 seconds will be enough.

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