Two Carbons

Two carbon atoms easily bond together to form C2 units, which play a key role in a number of processes in chemistry, physics, materials and life sciences. Despite their simple structure, C2 units can have many different electronic structures and bonding types. Involvement in a variety of molecular frameworks and complex transformations is an inherent characteristic of two-carbon structures.

In our laboratory, a two-carbon project is underway to investigate the molecular complexity and transformations of C2 units. At the focus of our research are the two most important molecules, acetylene and calcium carbide.

Acetylene is a well-established industrial raw material with a number of synthetic processes developed for the production of fine chemicals and polymers. Research into the promising potential of calcium carbide has begun only recently, and is currently developing rapidly.

Sustainable calcium carbide cycle

Sustainable calcium carbide cycle (picture from ref. ChemSusChem)

Innovative technologies developed in many research laboratories around the world make it possible to obtain valuable organic molecules directly from calcium carbide, bypassing the complex steps of separation and storage of acetylene gas. In a simple way, acetylene is made from calcium carbide and water and reacts immediately with other molecules. Both stages are performed in one pot and do not require complex equipment. The use of calcium carbide as a source of acetylene not only greatly simplifies the synthesis and reduces its cost, but also eliminates the main problem associated with the transportation, storage and handling of gaseous acetylene.