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The Ways of Storing Gases

On the industrial scale, there are three favourite ways of storing gases. First, they are stored in gasometers over water, or under a sliding piston or diaphragm.

Secondly, gases are stored in cylinders under pressures as high as 1,800 lbs. per square inch. This squeezes a lot of gas into a little space.

Thirdly, some gases can be made into liquids by compressing them, and these are sold in strong glass syphons or iron cylinders. When the valve at the top of the syphon is opened, the liquid evaporates and the gas rushes out. One gas, acetylene, explodes when it is strongly compressed, so it is dissolved under moderate pressure in a liquid called acetone, just as carbon dioxide is dissolved under pressure in water to make soda-water. When the cylinder of acetylene dissolved in acetone is opened, the acetylene comes bubbling out like the carbon dioxide from soda-water. To prevent the acetone from being spilt, it is soaked up in porous material.

The selling of gas is now a big industry, and at least eighteen different kinds can be bought.

The great chemical works usually make their gases and use them on the spot. Oxygen is sold to engineers for welding with the oxyacetylene blowpipe, and to doctors for sustaining pneumonia patients. Nitrogen, which does not burn, is sold for filling electric lamps and some other purposes. Hydrogen is sold for filling balloons and for various chemical purposes. Chlorine — the green poison-gas — is sold for bleaching and for making various chemicals. Carbon dioxide is sold in cylinders for making fizzy drinks and soda-water, which are simply still drinks or water into which this gas has been forced under pres­sure. Ethylene and ethyl chloride are used as anaesthetics. Acetylene is used for lighting. Liquefied ammonia (not the solution in water you buy at the chemist’s) is used for refrigerators, and so is liquefied sulphur dioxide. Argon — obtained from air — is sold for filling elec­tric light bulbs, and neon, a gas of which the air contains only one part in 55,000, is extracted from it and is used to fill those brilliant neon tubes which make the modern street so gay at night. So there are at least thirteen familiar gases you can buy, packed in cylinders or “siphons”.

One more gas is familiar to us all, the coal-gas, which is supplied to houses. This is a mixture of half-a-dozen gases. It is mostly hydro­gen and methane — the gas which causes explosions in coal mines — but it also contains the poisonous carbon monoxide and small amounts of several other gases [2, С. 69 - 70].


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What Gases Are | Liquefaction of Gases

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