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Aluminum carburide also known by the name three-carbon-four-aluminum has a molecular formula AL4C3, a form of aluminum carbide. It is a transparent rhombohedral crystalline material that is light yellow-brown and hard. It is a ionic crystalline material that does not conduct electricity when at room temperature.
Calcium carbide contains a small amount aluminum carbide. Aluminum carbide is often produced by corroding graphite electrodes when metal aluminum is melted using electrolysis. Aluminum carbide can be an unwanted component of metal matrix composites, or carbon fibres that use aluminum to create a matrix and then increase the strength by using carbides. Carbon fiber and aluminum composites are examples of materials that can react when the temperature is above 500. It can be prevented from reacting chemically if it is coated with titanium boride. The reaction between aluminum melt and the silicon carbide particles produces an aluminum carbide layer on the surface. This reduces strength. This can be prevented by coating the silicon particles with a suitable oxide, nitride or other material.
Synthesis of Aluminum Carbon
Aluminum carbide Al4C3 may be produced by the direct combination of two elements at high temperature. Mix 1 part heavy black smoke and 6 parts aluminum powder. Moisten the mixture with pine oil. Spread a thin layer in a crucible made of clay and then spread a thick layer of carbon. The crucible is covered with a cover and all gaps are smeared in refractory dirt mixed with asbestos fibres. The mixture is then fired for 30 mins at a temperature no lower than 1200 after the crucible has been pre-dried in an oven. Higher temperatures can improve the reaction. The excess aluminum is removed by treating the product with dilute hydrochloric solution (or an alkaline solution), after cooling. After obtaining the aluminum carbide as a fine crystalline, powder, it is washed quickly with water in order to remove aluminum chloride. Alcohol is then used to wash away the water, and finally the product is dried by placing it in a box with a temperature between 80-90°C. The product contains an excessive amount of aluminum chloride.
Aluminum carbide itself is colorless. However, the products that are made using the above method can have different colors because of impurities. Calculated amounts of aluminum and soot are calcined using hydrogen. This produces a pure aluminum carbide without aluminum nitride. This calcination must be performed at a temperature between 18001900 and for 23h. The resulting product is ground, and then calcined once more at the same temperature.
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