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Chemistry LibreTexts

The Combustion of Acetylene

Chemical Concept Demonstrated

  • Chemistry of alkynes


Crushed ice is covered over the bottom of a beaker.

Calcium carbide (CaC2) is sprinkled over the ice.

A match is dropped into the beaker.



An exothermic reaction occurs.

Explanation (including important chemical equations)

Calcium carbide reacts with water to form acetylene.

CaC(s) + H2O (l) --> Ca2+ (aq) +2 OH(aq) + H2C(g)

In the presence of a flame, acetylene reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and water.

2 H2C(g) + 5 O(g) --> 4 CO(g) + 2 H2O (g)


  • Dr. George Bodner