Sodium acetylide is used in a variety of applications including the manufacture of detonators. It is made by reacting sodium with acetylene in a liquid ammonia solution. Various forms of sodium acetylide are available, including mono-sodium, poly-sodium and single crystal. Sodium acetylide is also used in the synthesis of rhodium(I) amidinate complexes.
The conventional production of sodium acetylide is problematic due to the limited solubility of sodium and the need for large volumes of ammonia. In addition, sodium acetylide is subject to undesirable by-products, such as xylene. Therefore, a new and improved process has been developed. This process has many advantages, including low cost and high thermal stability.
This invention is based on a new and improved method for the preparation of sodium acetylide. The new method enables rapid and economic preparation of the product without the use of expensive equipment and refrigerating units. Moreover, the produced sodium acetylide can be wetted by inert liquids without coalescence.
A suitable vessel is constructed with an acetylene inlet at the bottom of the vessel and a gas outlet. The vessel is fitted with a mechanical stirrer and a thermometer. Another advantage of this procedure is that it is not necessary to maintain the reaction at high temperatures, resulting in a more efficient process.
The reaction is carried out at atmospheric pressure. A slurry of finely divided sodium is placed in the vessel. Acetylene is then added and the mixture is agitated to form a slurry. During the period of the reaction, the temperature of the slurry is kept at 40 C.