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An Introduction to Oxy Fuel

Oxy fuel plays a vital component in the cutting and welding process of metal. At Adams Gas, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service while providing high-quality and cost-effective gases. In addition, we offer various sizes of oxy fuel, from 2L canisters to 50L units, for more industrial requirements.

If you are at the beginning of your welding journey or wish to know more about finding the right products for cutting metal, we will provide information on everything you need to know before ordering our oxy fuel gas.

What Is Oxy Fuel Gas?

Oxy fuel gas is made up of oxygen and an additional injection of another gas. Combining oxygen and another combustion gas is required to produce a high-quality product. As bottled gas suppliers, we predominantly sell our gas for cutting and welding. We offer various options of either pre-mixed and individual gases, which you can mix at home through your oxy-fuel welding machine.

The most common combinations of oxygen are usually one of the following:

  • Acetylene
  • Hydrogen
  • Propylene
  • Butane

The mixture will mostly depend on the job it is required to complete. Of course, the cost and the flame control are the two most significant contributors.

What Is Oxy Fuel Used For?

As mentioned, two main processes require oxy fuel; welding and metal cutting. Each need requires its own correct mixture and percentage.

Welding – Oxy Fuel welding, like arc welding, requires heat to conjoin two sheets of metal together. How each process achieves the heat required is not the same. For arc welding, the heat is managed with electricity and can reach up to 10,000°F, whereas with oxy fuel the heat is achieved using a flame and only reaches temperatures of 6,000°F. The heat provided by the flame is then used to melt the surfaces of the workpieces, which form together, creating a join. Oxy fuel welding can be used with and without filler, depending on your requirements and the strength required. This welding method was developed in the late 1920s and was the only welding process available until coated arc welding electrodes were introduced.

Metal Cutting – Oxy fuel cutting is the thermal process of melting the metal to such heat that it creates separation. Primarily used within industrial settings, with the help of oxy fuel, thicknesses from 0.5-250mm can be cut easily and offers a more cost-effective solution than industrial metal cutting blades. This process can be carried out either manually or mechanised. A mixture of oxygen and the chosen combustion fuel is used to pre-heat the workpiece to its ignition temperature, which makes the metal glow, but does not bring it to boiling point. Once the workpiece reaches the correct temperature, a jet of pure oxygen is then directed at the area creating a chemical reaction between the oxygen and the metal to form iron oxide (or slag in its more common term). The jet then blows away the slag, allowing the pure oxygen jet to penetrate through the workpiece and create the beginning of the cut.

Getting The Right Mix of Oxy Fuel

Depending on the job, it will depend on the mix of oxy fuel you may require. Each of these mixes provides its own benefits;

Hydrogen Fuel – This low-density gas offers a clean flame and is most suited for welding aluminium. If mixed at a 2:1 ratio, this oxy fuel combination can reach up to 3600°F, making it an ideal option for underwater welding and cutting.

Propylene Fuel – This gas burns hotter than the alternative and cuts metals very similar to propane. It is by far the most cost-effective of the fuels as this gas will last longer than other oxy fuels and is usually a safer option. It offers excellent use in fusion welding, brazing, silver soldering and metal cutting. This gas is colourless and has a double bond which gives it an advantage over the likes of other gases such as propane.

Propane – Being quite similar to Propylene, this gas offers an excellent option for cutting metal, but due to its lower burning temperatures, it does not do well for welding as other alternatives. In addition to being unusable for welding, the lower temperature will also provide a longer cutting time for a workpiece. The advantages of propane are purely due to the commonly low expense, making it perfect as a hobby welding gas.

Buying Oxy Fuel for Your Project

Being a national bottled gas distributor, we aim to provide only the highest quality of gases to our customers. Our trained experts will be able to help with any gas requirements. Even if you are unsure of the exact mix or type of fuel you require, our staff will help you guide you to the correct size and combination. We offer sizes to suit all, from 2L canisters ideal for welders on the go or trade welding gas in 20L bottles. We will have the size you need. Find our full stock online or contact us for more regular deliveries.