- Water gas
Water gas is a synthesis gas, containing
carbon monoxideand hydrogen. It is a useful product but requires careful handling because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The gas is made by passing steamover red-hot coke:
:C + H2O → CO + H2
The reaction is
endothermicso the coke must be continually re-heated to keep the reaction going. This was usually done by alternating the steam stream with an air stream.
Water gas had been made in England since 1828 by blowing steam through red-hot
coke, this water gas was carburized by petrol according to a process invented by Thomson and Hind (Singer 119). Charles Singer also states in his "A History of Technology" that, in the United States, natural gases where often used for carburizing (Singer 119).
Water gas had a lower
calorific valuethan coal gasso the calorific value was often boosted by passing the gas through a heated retort into which oil was sprayed. The resulting mixed gas was called carburetted water gas.
Semi-water gas is a mixture of water gas and
producer gasmade by passing a mixture of air and steam through heated coke. The heat generated when producer gas is formed keeps the temperature of the coke high enough to allow water gas to be formed.
Pure hydrogen can be obtained from water gas by using the
Water gas shift reaction.
* Mellor, J.W., "Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry", Longmans, Green and Co., 1941, pp 210-211
* Adlam, G.H.J. and Price, L.S., "A Higher School Certificate Inorganic Chemistry", John Murray, 1944, page 309
* Singer, Charles Joseph; Raper, Richard. A history of technology : edited by Charles Singer ... [et al.] . Clarendon Press, 1954-1978. History e-book project.. ACLS Humanities E-book. Vol 5. "The use of mineral oil" p. 119
Thaddeus S. C. Lowe
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