It is reduced by nascent hydrogen to the secondary alcohol C6H5.CH.OH.CH3 phenyl-methyl-carbinol, and on oxidation forms benzoic acid.
This observation showed that nascent hydrogen was not, as had been supposed, the primary cause of the separation of metals from their solutions, but that the action consisted in a direct decomposition into metal and acid.
In contact with nascent hydrogen it builds up ethylene; ethylene acted upon by sulphuric acid yields ethyl sulphuric acid; this can again be decomposed in the presence of water, to yield alcohol, and it has also been proposed to manufacture sugar from this body.
The presence of free hydrogen is nearly always accompanied by silicon hydride formed by the combination of the nascent hydrogen with the silicon in the carbide.
On decomposition by water, ammonia is produced by the action of steam or of nascent hydrogen on the nitride, the quantity formed depending very largely upon the temperature at which the carbide is decomposed.