The price hike of gases like acetylene has affected numerous small and large businesses. That’s why people are searching for alternatives to acetylene. If you are someone who needs to switch from acetylene to other gases, you must have heard about propane.
However, you might wonder whether propane can be substituted for acetylene or not. In this article, we will discuss these two gases so that you can have a better idea about them.
Comparison Table Between Acetylene and Propane
|Safety||Less safe||More safe|
|Pre-heating metals||Faster process||Comparatively slower|
What is Acetylene
Acetylene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon of the alkene class. Its chemical name is ethyne. The chemical symbol is C2H2. The carbons have a triple bond between them. Acetylene is a gas used in industries due to its numerous upsides and workability in different situations. It is a highly flammable gas which makes it pretty efficient for industrial work.
Pros-cons of Acetylene
What is Propane
Propane is a saturated hydrocarbon of the alkane class. The chemical designation for this gas is C3H8. the carbons of propane have a single bond between them. Propane is commercially known as LPG gas. Many people consider it an alternative to expensive gases like acetylene due to its properties.
Pros-cons of Propane
Acetylene vs Propane: Difference
Thermal Output: Propane and acetylene both have different types of heat. While acetylene produces 1470 BTU per cubic Foot, propane produces 2498 BTU per cubic Foot.
Flame temperature: The flame temperature is higher in acetylene compared to propane. While acetylene burns at 3100 degrees Celcius, propane burns at 2800 degrees Celcius.
Safety: Propane is less explosive than acetylene as it is a saturated hydrocarbon.
Welding process: The welding process is much faster and more precise in acetylene with respect to propane.
Welding Quality: Acetylene is faster, as we have previously mentioned. However, it produces a lot of soot and debris. On the other hand, propane gives much cleaner results.
Electricity Consumption: Propane or LPG gas needs electricity to operate. Contrary to propane, acetylene does not need any electricity to operate. Hence, it saves a lot of energy.
Cost of operation: Acetylene costs a lot more than propane. But, as we mentioned previously, it also saves a lot of energy by not using electricity.
Acetylene vs Propane: Similarities
Acetylene and propane bear a lot of similarities. That’s why many people consider propane as an alternative to acetylene.
For instance, both acetylene and propane produce flames of extremely high temperatures. Moreover, acetylene and propane both need oxygen to create flames. In addition to that, you can cut metals with acetylene as well as propane, albeit the process is slightly different.
Why is acetylene the most popular?
Acetylene can burn at the highest temperature, making it the hottest among all the gases. Moreover, it is extremely efficient. In addition to that, acetylene can give the best result while welding. No other gases come close to the results produced by acetylene.
This is mostly because acetylene has a reducing zone, which other gases do not possess. That’s why acetylene is the most popular.
Can I use propane in place of acetylene?
In some cases, propane can be used in place of acetylene. However, that will require a lot of experience and dexterity. But, in many cases, propane cannot be used as a replacement for acetylene.
Acetylene produces a neutral flame. That makes it an excellent choice for welding. However, propane cannot produce a neutral flamelike acetylene. So, it is impossible to use propane for gas welding.
Is acetylene more explosive than propane?
Both propane and acetylene can explode under favorable conditions. In presence of air, acetylene can catch fire much quicker and explode when compared to propane.
This makes acetylene more explosive than propane. However, both of these gases are to be handled with utmost care and caution so that such a case does not happen.
Which is safer propane or acetylene?
Although both of these two gases are flammable, propane is safer than acetylene. The reason is, Propane’s ignition range is 2.1 percent to 9.5 percent. On the other hand, acetylene’s range is 2.5 percent to 82 percent. This makes acetylene more prone to burning than propane, making it more dangerous.
Propane vs Acetylene cost
When you buy propane, you have to pay around 25 dollars for 9 kg. However, you do not need to pay any rental fee. On the contrary, for acetylene, you will need to pay 275 dollars rental fee per year. In total, acetylene will cost you around 711 dollars whereas the number is significantly less, which is around 25 dollars for the same amount of propane.
Acetylene vs Propane Temperature
The flame produced by propane is less hot compared to acetylene. However, propane gives off more heat than acetylene. Propane burns at a temperature of 2800 degrees Celsius or 5112 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, acetylene flame produces a temperature of 3100 degrees Celcius or 5720 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acetylene s vs Propane: Which One To Choose
We think that acetylene is the better option than propane if you need to do gas welding. However, for cutting metals, you can choose propane to save some money. It will take more time than acetylene. But, you will get much cleaner results. Moreover, you will not need any post-cleaning as you will need with acetylene.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Acetylene is very unstable as it is an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Propane, however, is less reactive as it is a saturated hydrocarbon. So, it can be said that propane is more stable than acetylene.
Answer: Acetylene flames do burn hotter than propane, albeit not by a large margin. Acetylene burns at 3100 degree C whereas propane tends to burn at 2800 degrees C.
Answer: Yes, propane burns cleaner compared to acetylene. While acetylene creates a lot of soot and debris, it is not the case for propane.
Answer: Acetylene is very explosive. When it is used over 15 psi, the chances of explosion skyrocket by a large margin. So, it is beneficial to use it under that pressure.
As you can understand after reading this article, acetylene is way better in every aspect. However, with its high price, buying acetylene may become extremely burdensome for you.
So, as we suggested before, it would be better to use propane if gas welding is not your main purpose.
We hope that we were able to satisfy your queries. We wish you the best of luck.