The pure material is colorless, while pieces of technical-grade calcium carbide are grey or brown and consist of about 80–85% of CaC2 (the rest is CaO (calcium oxide), Ca3P2 (calcium phosphide), CaS (calcium sulfide), Ca3N2 (calcium nitride), SiC (silicon carbide), etc.). In the presence of trace moisture, technical-grade calcium carbide emits an unpleasant odor reminiscent of garlic.[4
in the “desulfurization” of iron (pig iron, cast iron and steel).
• as a fuel in steelmaking to extend the scrap ratio to liquid iron, depending on economics.
• as a powerful deoxidizer in steel at ladle treatment facilities.
• was used in carbide lamps, in which water drips on the carbide and the acetylene formed is ignited. These lamps were usable but dangerous in coal mines, where the presence of the flammable gas methane made them a serious hazard
Calcium carbide is used in carbide lamps. Water dripping on carbide produces acetylene gas, which burns and produces light. While these lamps gave steadier and brighter light than candles, they were dangerous in coal mines, where flammable methane gas made them a serious hazard. The presence of flammable gases in coal mines led to miner safety lamps such as the Davy lamp, in which a wire gauze reduces the risk of methane ignition. Carbide lamps were still used extensively in slate, copper, and tin mines where methane is not a serious hazard. Most miners’ lamps have now been replaced by electric lamps