Calcium Carbide Process

Innovation Info
Inventor (s): 
Thomas Leopold Willson
Country (invented in): 
Year Invented: 
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Who invented Calcium Carbide Process?

Thomas Leopold Willson  invented the process for Calcium Carbide in 1892 in Canada. Though there is some dispute on H. Moissan a french chemist who also claims to have invented the process. But Thomas Leopold Willson is the one who is the one credited for the invention of Calcium Carbide (CaC2).


When was the Calcium Carbide Process invented?


When was the patent granted for the Calcium Carbide process?

 Thomas Leopold Willson was granted a patent 563,527 for the production of calcium carbide by subjecting lime and carbonaceous deoxidizing agent to heat. He filed for a patent on March 16, 1893 and he was issued the patent on July 7, 1896.

Who was the patent granted to on the Calcium Carbide Process?

Thomas Leopold Willson.


What is Calcium Carbide Process?

Calcium Carbide has the formula, CaC2 and is a colorless compound. It is dangerous when wet. Due to the presence of PH3, NH3, and H2S, Calcium carbide has a very unpleasent smell.

  • Calcium carbide is produced industrially in an electric arc furnace from a mixture of lime and coke at approximately 2000 °C. This method has not changed since its invention in 1888:

                                           CaO + 3 C → CaC2 + CO

  • Calcium carbide is mainly used for producing acetylene gas and this gas is first used for household lightening and later used in lamps.
  • Carbide lamps are used for manufacturing of various applications and the use of these carbide lamps continued for decades in United States.
  • In 1932 the usage of carbide lamps was vanished in Untied States but it still continued to use in other countries like Russia and Ukraine.
  • There are other uses of calcium carbide. It is used in the manufacturing process of steel which helps to remove sulfur and provide strength to the steel.
  • Carbide is used for manufacturing carbide lamps which are used in mines and automobiles. Acetylene gas was formed and it is burned to create light. At present the use of these lamps were declined.
  • It is used in creating carbon cyanamide which is most commonly used as a component in fertilizers.


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