Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1983, 48, 1969-1976

Synthesis and thermal decomposition of magnesium dicarbide

Bohumil Hájek, Pavel Karen and Vlastimil Brožek

Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Prague Institute of Chemical Technology, 166 28 Prague 6


The conditions of formation of magnesium dicarbide from magnesium and acetylene were investigated; the optimum temperature, reaction period, and acetylene flow rate were sought so as to achieve high yields of dicarbide and minimize the free carbon deposit. The porosity of the magnesium dust was found to have a pronounced effect upon the yield; a considerable improvement was achieved by pressing the dust into pellets with controlled porosity. The powder X-ray diffraction patterns of MgC2 samples were studied. The intense reflection could be indexed for the bet symmetry (a = 392.9 ± 0.6 pm, c = 503.7 ± 1.2 pm), but as the intensity calculations for dicarbide models with different arrangements of the C22- groups indicate, the symmetry of the MgC2 lattice will be lower than tetragonal. The thermal decomposition of the dicarbide leading to sesquicarbide was examined in dependence on time and temperature by hydrolyzing the samples and analyzing the gaseous products by GLC. Due to the thermal decomposition, traces of sesquicarbide appear even during the dicarbide synthesis. The decomposition process was approximated by kinetic equations. The Arrhenius equation constants, in the temperature region of 485-560 °C, are AA = 4.97 . 1012 s-1, EA = 257 kJ mol-1.