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Acetylene vs Natural gas

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Acetylene vs Natural gas

Post by afdmello » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:23 pm

Hi folks,

We have oxyacetylene cylinders used for cutting metal. Maintenance wants to switch to natural gas.

Will natural gas provide the same effect as acetylene?

What will be the natural gas flame temperature vs acetylene flame temperature?

Natural gas is less hazardous than acetylene in terms of explosive range

Any experience using natural gas for this purpose?

Thanking you in advance.


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Re: Acetylene vs Natural gas

Post by WillPool » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:38 pm

Some info here from my search engine:


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Re: Acetylene vs Natural gas

Post by quality_somerset » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:57 am

Hi Afdmello

Yes you can use natural gas for cutting, however you will need to consider:

- What you are cutting, some steel with high carbon content will not like natural gas

- Your hoses, regulators and torches will need to be changed i.e. cost

- What sort of finish you want on your cut, natural gas and propane have a lower temperature outer flame cone, where as acetylene has a colder outer flame but a hotter inner flame. Fine if you are cutting up scrap but not so useful if you want to precision cut plate steel.

- You will also need to consider safety issues like asphyxiation risk, oxygen depletion, risk of explosive atmospheres forming, workplace expose limits for gas, training of staff and making sure there is regular inspection of equipment.



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Re: Acetylene vs Natural gas

Post by Messy » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:12 pm

We have removed all acetylene from our estate due to the risks posed by the huge explosive range of this inherently dangerously unstable gas.

In addition, we were mindful that the fire service tactics - albeit not as onerous as they once were - can and will disrupt business for many hours, including a full shut down. Business continuity is a massive priority for my employers as it is very difficult for us to close down. Lastly, litigation from neighbours could run into £££millions if they were shut down for a day due to an incident on our premises

Our engineers grumbled, but they were unable to develop a business case that outweighed the benefits of removing this dangerous gas. Every task they gave as an example to justify them holding on the acetylene, I found an alternative solution to do the job that came with a reduced risk.

Legacy remarks such as "we have always done it this way' (which was the basis of their argument) simply don't hold water

Needless to say, I don't get a Christmas card from our engineers any more and it wouldn't surprise me if there's a photo of me in a dartboard in an engineers rest area somewhere :roll: :roll:

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Re: Acetylene vs Natural gas

Post by Blackstone » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:29 am

I believe in most cases in our workshop we use Propane for this process (if I remember correctly) and are just about to get rid of the last Acetylene bottle from site.

We had the same engineers moaning that its better, etc, etc, but the business risk is too great.

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