What is Argon?
Colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-flammable, and non-toxic, argon is a noble gas that accounts for 1% of the air we breathe. As far as chemicals go, you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s friendlier or more useful. Argon gas has no impact on the environment. It doesn’t harm aquatic life and doesn’t have any effect on the ozone layer. While it can be lethal in concentrated doses, it dissipates quickly in well-ventilated areas.
Argon Stands for ‘Inert’
Argon is, for the most part, chemically inactive, which makes it ideal for industrial applications. The name “argon” derives from the Greek word argos, meaning “inactive” or “lazy.” But when it comes to usefulness, argon is anything but lazy.
The Industrial Uses of Argon
Argon makes up less than 1% of the air we breathe and is separated during the production of nitrogen and oxygen.
The primary industrial use of argon is in welding, as an inert shielding agent. Shielding protects molten metal from contamination and oxidation caused by harmful atmospheric gases. Adding helium improves argon’s heat transfer properties, while combining argon with carbon dioxide or oxygen can help stabilize the welding arc.
Some industrial processes require very high temperatures, and argon is used where ordinarily non-reactive substances would become reactive. As an inert gas, argon can be used to provide an oxygen- and nitrogen-free setting for any process that involves high temperature heat treatment.
Other Major Uses of Argon
In Modified Atmosphere Packaging or MAP – Argon can be used to displace oxygen and air that contains moisture in packaging to extend the shelf life of the contents. This includes chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Argon is even used extensively in winemaking to provide a barrier against oxygen, which can degrade and spoil stored wine.
Argon is also used at the American National Archives to preserve important documents such as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and a copy of the Magna Carta. All three were originally encased in helium until it was found that helium escaped and needed to be replaced regularly. The argon in the case doesn’t degrade the paper or ink as other gases would.
Liquid argon can be used to destroy cancer cells, while blue argon lasers are used to repair arteries, destroy tumors, and correct defects in the eye.
Incandescent light bulbs are filled with argon gas to protect the filaments from oxidation at high temperatures. In neon lighting, argon produces a lilac or violet light.
Argon is used in window manufacturing to increase the thermal efficiencies between double and triple pane window panels. Argon also displaces any potential water molecules that will condense and create cloudiness over time.
Three-dimensional printing is a relatively new technology that’s gaining in popularity. During the 3D printing process, the printing material goes through rapid heating and cooling. Argon is used to prevent oxidation or rusting and can limit the stress impact.
The Right Product, Every Time
Cee Kay provides argon gas cylinders in a variety of sizes. We can also provide argon as a compressed gas or liquid. Regardless of your applications size or technical requirements, our experts will identify the perfect argon supply solution for your needs.