ideas for storing spent carbide

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Postby hunter » Dec 13, 2005 12:21 pm

Somewhere there is another thread on this... I talked to my girlfriend who is a chemistry professor when this discussion came up last time. I still use carbide part of the time and was curious. Anyway what I gathered without experiment is the following:

1) As stated in all the previous posts, used carbide will almost certainly continue reacting and generating acetylene for a while(the water in the air is enough for this). The dangers are obvious.

2) Calcium hydroxide in solution is very basic, hence a small amount will help improve acidic soils. This also means that getting it on gear, when wet, is generally a bad idea. I've never gotten a chemical burn from wet spent carbide but I expect getting it in your eyes or anywhere else with sensitive tissue (nose, mouth, lungs) would be bad.

3) The process used to make carbide results in trace amounts of heavy metals being mixed with the carbide. This is a good reason for throwing away(i.e. sending to a land fill) carbide instead of just dumping it at the entry or in your garden.

Anyway, just what I found/learned. I would be really interested in seeing a good wet chemistry test on spent carbide.

Of course in the end whether you use alkaline batteries, rechargable batteries, carbide, candles or anything else the amount of gas you spend getting to the cave probably means a lot more.

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Postby rchrds » Dec 14, 2005 8:37 am

I have to second the recommendation on the little red meander bags. I have used them for a few years now, and am really pleased with them. The best part, by far, is the mesh netting in the bag. You can shake out all the good carbide (I used to just throw it all away) and reuse it, and you use less carbide in the end! Also, gas is easily vented from the bag, if you miss some, but by removing anything still good and not powder, there is MUCH less vented gas- I have no worries at all about swimming the used stuff, other than it gets heavy when it is wet, of course.

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