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Companies that fail to use or store compressed gases properly are inviting disaster. Improper handling of compressed gases can lead to serious fires, explosions or releases due to pressure buildup in cylinders or reactivity with other materials. Proper procedures for handling and using acetylene gas should be understood and followed by all employees.
Acetylene is a well known fuel gas used almost universally in gas welding. Even though it is very common, this gas is an extremely dangerous material. Acetylene is so reactive, it should never be allowed to come into contact with certain metals such as unalloyed copper. Nor should it be stored or used at pressures greater than 15 psi. (Cylinder pressures are rated for 250 psi but this is acceptable because the gas is dissolved in acetone.)
Acetylene is so flammable, that the National Electric Code has a special designation (its most stringent) for using electrical equipment around acetylene. No other substance falls into this classification! Acetylene leaks, no matter how small can have serious consequences. The explosive range of the gas, when mixed with air, is from 2.5% to 82%, the widest of any commonly used gas.
When using acetylene gas, always observe the following procedures:
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