Argon is a noble gas, and it shares the same properties as the other class chemicals, which are odourless, monatomic, and colourless in nature. It is considered an inert gas and has what is known as inert gas tendencies. The gas has a certain valence, making it non-reactive to chemical reactions.
Argon is one of the major chemicals that is non-toxic and non-flammable. One per cent of argon gas is present in the air, and it is one of the friendlier gases that does not harm the environment. However, it is lethal in large concentrations but can quickly dissipate in exposed and ventilated areas.
Argon Use in the Industrial Setting
One of the major industries that have found a good use for argon is the welding sector. It is used as an inert shielding and blanketing agent to protect the molten metal from being exposed to the harmful effects of atmospheric gases.
During the welding process, metal is exposed to temperatures of more than 7,000 degrees. As a result, metal becomes liquid which leads to the formation of a weld. Using pure argon protects the molten metal pool from oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.
The Noble Gas effectively prevents metal contamination and oxidation, which affects metal porosity and weld spatter. In addition, argon is typically combined with helium to improve the gas’ heat transfer properties and stabilise arc welding.
Safety Concerns with the Use of Argon
From a technical perspective, argon has the same solubility as oxygen, and it has a higher solubility factor than nitrogen when exposed to water. As a result, this gas is a non-toxic agent in open spaces, but it can be deadly in closed areas.
Argon also has no known environmental effect, given that it is present in the air that we breathe. Three is no proven evidence that argon gas affects plants and animals. And it is not considered an ozone-depleting chemical.
In short, argon gas is a chemical that is greatly exploited, particularly in industries where the element is highly valuable. In addition, it is non-toxic and non-flammable, which makes it an ideal element for working with.
Other Industries Finding Use for Argon
Argon is one of those chemical elements that can be seen in an expanse of industries. It is not just useful in the metallurgy industry, but argon is also a very useful element in food packaging, pharmaceuticals, window insulation, and 3d printing, among others.
In food packaging, argon is used to extend a product’s shelf life. It displaces moisture-containing oxygen during the food packaging stage, allowing the contents to maintain their expected shelf life. Argon is also extensively used during winemaking, creating a barrier against oxygen during wine aging.
The noble gas is also used in the medical field, particularly in cancer treatment processes. For example, argon is present in the blue argon laser, which destroys cancer cells and repairs arteries. Incandescent light is also filled with gas to prevent the light filament from oxidising at high temperatures.
Argon comes in various forms and grades depending on the sector where it is expected for use. Industrial argon is graded at 4.7 with a ≤ 10 ppm moisture impurity and ≤ 5 ppm of oxygen levels. Laboratory grade argon has a 5.0 grade consisting of impurities are carbon dioxide and methane hydrocarbon.