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- BOC oxygen is typically supplied with a purity of 99.5% or better.
- Colourless and odourless.
- Does not burn but supports and accelerates combustion.
- Non-toxic at atmospheric pressure.
- Vigorously supports combustion. Introducing oxygen to conventional air-fuel flames increases the temperature of the flame.
- Used as an ingredient in some shielding gas mixtures, due to its ability to help stabilise the arc and reduce surface tension.
- When cutting, a 1% reduction in purity increases oxygen consumption by 25% and reduces the cutting speed by a similar amount.
Applications and uses
- Widely used with a fuel gas for cutting, welding, brazing and soldering. The use of oxygen gives higher flame temperatures than if air is used.
- In oxy-cutting, an oxy-fuel flame preheats the steel to its ignition temperature. A jet of gaseous oxygen flows onto the red-hot steel, generating more heat and melting the steel. The steel in contact with the oxygen jet is oxidised, creating metallic slag which is blown from the cut, allowing more steel to react with the oxygen.
- In plasma and laser-cutting steel, an arc or laser beam is used to heat the steel to its ignition temperature. Oxygen is then used in the same way as with oxygen-cutting to create an exothermic reaction and to blow away any metal oxide or slag.
- Thermal lancing oxygen is used in conjunction with the steel lance to create a high-temperature melting process capable of drilling or cutting through materials such as concrete, brick, stone and most metals.
- High-purity oxygen is used in the laboratories, process-control operations, metal analysis instruments and in semi-conductor production.
- Used as an assist gas in lasers for cutting mild steel.
- Oxygen vigorously supports combustion of many materials, which will not normally burn in air.
- Copper, brass and high quality stainless steel are the most commonly used metals and are compatible with oxygen. However most lubricants are not compatible; oil and grease can ignite spontaneously burning with explosive violence and should not be used with oxygen.
- Oxygen must never be used with Polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) tape, as it will cause combustion.
- Standard PTFE tape contains oil; oxygen reacts violently with oil and may spontaneously burn with an explosive force. BOC does not recommend the use of PTFE or other thread sealing components in conjunction with any gas cylinder valves or regulators.
- Industrial-grade oxygen must never been used for medical purposes - to buy or find out more about Medical Oxygen, visit our BOC Healthcare website.
- Care must be taken in the design process and control systems to ensure that substantial volumes of oxygen and a fuel gas never become mixed together in an enclosed space
Oxygen piping and flow-control systems must be fabricated from materials and components recommended for use with oxygen and follow strict codes of practice and guides issued by the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA)