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Top Uses of Argon Gas

Argon is one of the Noble gases. It is a colourless and odourless gas which is inert to other substances. Argon gets its name from the Greek word for ‘lazy’, reflecting how little it reacts to form compounds.

This gas is a chemical element with the symbol Ar and the atomic number 18, and it’s the third-most abundant gas in the atmosphere (and the most abundant in the crust). Almost all of the argon found in the atmosphere is radiogenic argon-40 and, in space, the most common argon isotope is argon-36.

Most commonly, argon is one of the elements used in the welding industry as it provides an inert atmosphere in which welded metals will not oxidise. However, argon gas can be used in a wide range of industries. Here at Adams Gas, we have compiled a list of five different uses of argon below.

 Row of argon gas cannisters

Healthcare Industry

Did you know argon is used within the healthcare industry? Argon lasers are used in the treatment of retinal detachment and retinal phototherapy for those who are diabetic; they are also used in surgeries to weld arteries and destroy tumours. The applications for the argon laser system are mainly in the medical field, as it is capable of targeting areas with extreme precision.

Argon is used much more than you think within this industry.

The treatment of kidney tumours is used through cryo-needles, and as part of the procedure, they are cooled in argon cryosurgery. This means diseased or abnormal tissue is destroyed or removed by freezing. Argon is also used to treat further problems, such as heart arrhythmias, alterations in the rhythm of the heartbeat.

Uses in Lighting

Argon is used within neon tubes in lighting. When electricity is passed through, argon then produces a purple-blue glow. As it charges, it starts to emit light at a much lower voltage. As this saves money, it quickly started to become the preferred gas due to this purpose.

This is similar with florescent lighting also. Argon is used in incandescent light bulbs to prevent quick oxidation of the filament. This prolongs the life of the bulb.

Food and Drink Industry

Due to its inertness, argon can be found within the food and drink industry. Within drinks, argon is added to wine barrels to displace air. Being denser than air, it settles above the liquid protecting the wine from souring and oxidation. This is also the same for open wine and liquid bottles within bars and restaurants.

Manufacturing Industry

Argon is used popularly within welding and casting industries, especially in the making of specialty alloys and manufacturing titanium. It is also used as a shield gas during arc welding, seeing as it protects the metal that’s being worked on from oxygen. TIG, which stands for ‘tungsten inert gas’, utilises both pure argon or argon mixtures.

Within the manufacturing of steel in a converter, argon reduces the chromium losses, meaning the desired carbon content can be met at a reduced and lower temperature. Within the manufacturing of aluminium, argon is also used as hydrogen removal and degasification.

Document Preservation

One of the most fascinating uses of argon gas is the preservation of old documentation. The inert nature of the argon gas means it can provide a protective atmosphere. This prevents their degradation and damage during their storage and display.

Home Fixtures

You may not have thought of this gas like that, but argon is incredibly useful around the home as well! It’s used for thermal insulation in energy efficient windows – more specifically, the double-glazed windows that are so common in the UK use argon to fill the space between the panes.

If you want to check that your windows contain this gas, search for two small holes along the spacer material. These holes are needed in production – one for pumping argon in, the other to allow air to be pushed out as the gas comes in.

Scuba Diving

This noble gas may be used as a dry suit insulation for cold-water diving. This is because argon is inert and possesses low thermal conductivity. It can also be used in its argox form, which is the informal name given to a scuba diving breathing gas made of argon and oxygen. However, this application is fairly rare.

Miscellaneous Applications

Argon has such a wide range of applications that it’s impossible to name them all. The following list includes more uses for this noble gas, although it is by no means comprehensive:

  • Argon can be used as a carrier gas in cinematography
  • It offers a blanket atmosphere to grow crystals (and in viniculture, for example)
  • This noble gas can also be found in cryosurgery, refrigeration, fire extinguishing, spectroscopy, and airbag inflation.
  • In its liquid form, argon is often used as the target for neutrino experiments and direct searches for dark matter.
  • Argon is used in fluorescent glow starters as well.
  • The argon ion laser is used in applications that include forensic medicine, high-speed printing, holography, laser shows in entertainment and microscopy.

 

Other inert gases can fulfil some of the functions of argon – however, argon is especially attractive because of how cost-effective and abundant it is. This gas makes almost up 1% of the atmosphere and can be obtained through the production of liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen.

 

At Adams Gas, we stock a range of argon gas supplies for your use. Our disposable gas cylinders are a cost-effective alternative to stationary industrial size gas cylinders, and they are manufactured to the highest quality. For our trade customers, we specifically introduced our rent-free pure argon gas, aimed at businesses who go through a 50L cylinder every 3 months.

If you would like to know any further information about our products and services, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today by calling 01843 220 596 or emailing sales@adamsgas.co.uk, and we will be happy to help.