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The molecular formula of Al4C3 is used to describe this inorganic compound. Aluminum carbide comes as a yellow, greenish gray or white crystal block. It’s hygroscopic. Aluminum carbide powder decomposes in high temperatures, and is then dissolved by cold water into aluminum hydroxide and methane.
The preparation of aluminum carbide
Aluminum carbide is produced by heating alumina with coke in a furnace. Aluminum carbide Al4C3 comes from the direct combination of alumina and coke at high temperature.
Then, spread carbon powder over the top. The crucible is covered with a cover, and any gaps are smeared in a mixture of refractory soil and asbestos fibers. Then, after pre-drying the mixture, it is heated to a temperature no lower than 1200degC. Higher temperatures can help the reaction progress.
After cooling, the product will be treated with diluted alkaline or hydrochloric acids to remove excess aluminium. After obtaining the aluminum carbide as a fine crystalline, powder, it is washed to remove aluminum chloride with water, then quickly wiped away with alcohol. The product is then dried in a box set at 80-90degC. The product contains an excessive amount of aluminum chloride.
Aluminum carbide itself is colorless. However, the products that are made using the above method can have different colors because of impurities.
A pure product free of aluminum nitride is obtained when the calculated quantity of the mixture of aluminium and soot are calcined with hydrogen. This calcination is carried out between 1800degC and 1900degC, for a duration of 2 to3 hours. The resultant material is ground, and then calcined once more at the mentioned temperature.
Aluminum Carbide Application
Aluminum carbide has many applications, including in the production of methane and catalysts. Other typical uses of aluminum carbide are:
1. When combined with silicon carbide, the finely distributed aluminum carbide in the aluminum matrix reduces the tendency of material to creep.
2. The aluminum-aluminum carbide composite material can be made through mechanical alloying by grinding graphite and aluminum powder together.
3. Aluminum carbide may be used in high speed cutting tools. Its hardness almost matches that of topaz.
4. Aluminum carbide, used as a firework additive, can be used, for instance, to produce the effect of fireflies.
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