The Physics
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Temperature of an Oxyacetylene Torch

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Brown, Lemay, and Bursten. Chemistry. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997: 826. "The reaction between C2H2 and O2 is highly exothermic, producing temperatures in excess of 3,000 °C" 3,000 °C
Lua'y A. Zeatoun and Philip W. Morrison, Jr. Optimizing diamond growth for an atmospheric oxyacetylene torch. Journal of Materials Research. Vol. 12, No. 5 (January 1997): 1237-1252. "The torch can reach temperatures as high as 3,480 degrees Celsius" 3,480 °C
The Welding Institute. Job knowledge for welders 27: Health, safety and accident prevention, Oxyacetylene welding, cutting and heating. 2002. "The oxyacetylene process produces a high temperature flame over 3,000 degrees C, by combustion of pure oxygen and acetylene" 3,000 °C
Reinhold, Van Nostrand. Scientific Encyclopedia. New York: Van Nostrand, 1982: 2114. "When combined in proper proportions, acetylene and oxygen yield a flame with a temperature of about 3,480 °C" 3,480 °C
oxyacetylene torch., 2002. "The temperature of the flame can reach as high as 6,300 (3,480)." 3,480 °C

Thomas Wilson created the oxyacetylene torch in 1903. He combined both pure oxygen (99.5%) and acetylene in proper proportions to yield a flame of about 3,480 degrees Celsius. Oxyacetylene the only gas mixture that will burn hot enough to cut steel. It is particularly useful for welding different metals underwater.

The chemical action of the oxyacetylene flame can be adjusted by changing the ratio of the volume of oxygen to acetylene. Three distinct flame settings are used, neutral, oxidizing and carburizing. Welding is generally carried out using the neutral flame setting, which has equal quantities of oxygen and acetylene. The oxidizing flame is obtained by increasing just the oxygen flow rate while the carburising flame is achieved by increasing acetylene flow in relation to oxygen flow.

Oxyacetylene equipment is portable and easy to use. Oxygen and acetylene gases are stored under pressure in steel cylinders. The cylinders are fitted with regulators and flexible hoses, which lead to the blowpipe. Specially designed safety devices such as flame traps are fitted between the hoses and the cylinder regulators. The flame trap prevents flames generated by a flashback from reaching the cylinders.

Anthony Cheedie -- 2002