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- Colourless, tasteless and odourless
- Inert to all materials at all temperatures and pressures.
- Heavier than air, argon will collect in low-lying areas, ducts and drains.
- An asphyxiant.
- Lower thermal conductivity than most other gases.
- Has a purity level of 99.998% - ideal for welding purposes.
- Low ionising potential allows easy forming of a welding arc without reacting with the metal components being welded.
- When welding thicker materials, other gases are added to the argon base to produce a more fluid weld pool.
Applications and Uses
- All of the major applications of argon are related to the production, processing and fabrication of metals. The role of argon is nearly always to exclude atmospheric air from contact with metal alloys. An example of this is as a purging gas to protect weld areas, such as the inside of pipes during welding.
- The predominant gas used in shielding gases because it forms a very good shield due to the high density and total inertness.
- Used on a wide range of ferrous and non-ferrous materials for welding and cutting.
- Major component in most shielding gas mixtures for arc welding and cutting due to low ionising potential.
- Shielding gas for MIG and TIG welding processes and for plasma-cutting. Argon is used alone or mixed with other gases such as helium, carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen or hydrogen. Each mixture is often specific to welding a particular material or to a particular process. For example, argon is used as a shielding gas for TIG-welding aluminium, titanium and copper.
- When MIG-welding ferrous materials, pure argon is not an ideal shielding gas, as it produces an arc with poor cathodic rooting characteristics, large droplet size and therefore higher levels of spatter. For this reason, BOC recommends that Argoshield or Stainshield gases be used depending on the thickness and type of material being welded.
- Fills the inter-space in double-glazed windows.
When welding thicker materials with argon, it is important to take care to ensure that problems with fusion and porosity do not occur.
Low thermal conductivity acts as an insulator and will not transfer heat efficiently.