Calcium carbide (CaC2) is manufactured by heating a lime and carbon mixture between 2000 and 2100°C (3632 to 3812°F) in an electric arc furnace. The lime is reduced by carbon to calcium carbide and carbon monoxide (CO). Calcium carbide, CaC2 when pure, is transparent and colorless, with a specific gravity of 2.22, at 180°C. It is prepared in the laboratory by thermal decomposition under vacuum of pure calcium cyanamide in the presence of carbon to produce absolutely white calcium carbide. Commercially, calcium carbide varies in color from steel-gray to reddish brown, depending on impurities and the method of manufacture. Industrial calcium carbide is about 80% pure. Its outstanding property is that of reacting with water to produce acetylene gas.
Calcium carbide is an inorganic compound with the following primary commercial applications: production of calcium cyanamide (a nitrogen fertilizer), generation of acetylene, and usage in the iron (foundry) and steel industries as a desulfurization reagent. Thus, rising demand from end-use industries is estimated to drive the market; however stringent government regulations and high manufacturing cost are likely to hamper the market. Calcium carbide is the main source of acetylene, and acetylene is utilized principally in the synthesis of a series of resins, organic chemicals, and plastics, and in oxyacetylene cutting and welding of metals. Calcium carbide is also employed as a dehydrating agent and as a reducing and desulfurizing agent in metallurgical processes.
In terms of application, the calcium carbide market can split into acetylene manufacturing, synthesis of solvents, pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel making, carbide lamps, and others. The key applications of calcium carbide is in the synthesis of solvents and organic compounds required in pharmaceutical and dyestuff industries, in the manufacture of calcium cyanamide, acetylene required in oxyacetylene welding, and manufacture of synthetic rubber and plastics. It is utilized in the manufacture of graphite and hydrogen, in steel hardening, and in the reduction of copper sulfide and metallic oxide. Furthermore, it is also used in the production of cyanamide, where it serves as a nitrogen fixative. Cyanamide, CaCN2, is used as a fertilizer and as a raw material for the production of a series of nitrogenous compounds (dicyanamide, guaniddine, and melamine). Carbide is employed in metallurgy as a disulfurizing and deoxidizing agent. Thus, demand from the applications mentioned above drives the market.
In terms of region, the calcium carbide market can be segregated into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are major regions of the calcium carbide market, led by the expansion of the end-use industry. Asia Pacific is expected to be an emerging market during the forecast period, due to the rising demand from emerging economies such as China and India. China leads the market in APAC due to easy accessibility and abundant availability of coal reserves. Demand for calcium carbide from industries such as PVC and metallurgy are also driving the market.
Companies have started investing in the innovation and development of calcium carbide due to the rise in demand for acetylene. Prominent players operating in the calcium carbide market include Carbide Industries LLC, Denka, MCB Industries SDN BHD, AlzChem, Iran Carbide, and SA Calcium Carbide.