When we talk about welding, argon gas is one of the main items that come into the picture.
What then is argon gas?
The name "argon" originally came from the Greek word ἀργόν, neuter singular form of ἀργός which literally means "lazy" or "inactive".
It is a chemical element classified under the noble gases category. It is a colourless and odourless gas which also stands as the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv) in content with the air that we breathe and is also the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.
The level of its natural abundance has gradually been increasing since the Earth was formed due to the radioactive potassium-40 turning into argon as it decays. But commercially, argon is extracted by the distillation of liquid air.
Argon is often used when an inert atmosphere is needed.
We have compiled helpful data into this handy article for your reference. You’re just a quick read away from knowing argon and it's details.
So keep reading!
Why do welders use Argon?
When it comes to the field of welding and casting industries, especially in the making of specialty alloys.
Argon gas is definitely one of the most used options of gas by either professional welders and hobbyists worldwide.
As the origin of its name suggests that it is an inactive gas, therefore, this element undergoes almost no chemical reactions and thus making it a generally favorite gas by welders.
Argon also has safety concerns to be aware of, but for the most part, it is proven to be a very safe gas.
Due to its entirely non-toxic and non-flammable characteristics, you can be certain that it is not poisonous, and hazardous. It will also assure you of a burnt-free procedure. Thus making it usable on such a vast scale.
It is mostly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high-temperature industrial processes where ordinarily unreactive substances become reactive.
When a welder is carrying out the process of welding, they are exposing metals to high degrees of temperatures. Oftentimes, these temperatures go beyond 5,000 degrees and can be very hot.
Argon gas is one of the most important gases that welders in this professional category usually need because this can definitely improve the work that they do.
People have been commonly asking the very popular question about why this particular gas is used as they are.
This is a certain type of gas that has been incredibly beneficial for its specifically given purposes, however just a few are familiar with the action reasoning behind it and why most people in the industry have been using this gas.
In this section, we will discuss the three main reasons why welders use argon and the complexity of this particular gas. Here are as follows:
Argon is frequently being used as a shielding agent to protect welders from an extreme extent of high temperatures.
These high degrees of temperatures are in whatever manner is significantly essential for metal to turn to liquid so it can be molded in several ways that it is intended to. Most metals also reach this melting point at these heightened temperatures so they can be easily welded and shaped to fit the desired form.
The reason why a shielding gas where in this case is argon gas is important because it helps the welder protect the metal that they are working with. This hinders any disruptions from the metal and helps the welder to work with no kind of worry since it protects the metals from any undesirable reaction that can take place in the atmosphere.
The function that Argon performs in this process is to protect the metals that are being melted. When the metals are being met with high temperatures, they can possibly react towards some gases in the air around it.
It can react with things like Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Hydrogen present around the surrounding area, which can lead to unwanted outcomes. Argon gas is applied to the metals during the process of welding, so they don’t react with the rest of the components in the air.
Argon gas is also considered to give helpful effects to keep in an existing state the stability of the arc.
When you are working with any metals, having a good weld penetration and better appearance is what welders desire. The Argon gas makes it possible, which is why it is considered beneficial.
Whether you are a professional or a rookie in the welding category, one of the common denominators is the size of the Argon tank that should be used.
But usually, new MIG and TIG welders have to think too much and stress themselves on how big the size of the tank they should purchase or how much gas that the welding they will do would require.
This is one common problem to novice welders though which usually greatly complicates the plan of purchasing a gas tank.
Ofcourse, it would be too much of a hussle to run to and fro every single day just because you ran out of gas which caused your work to be delayed which is another dilemma.
That is why knowing and fully understanding how long certain size gas tanks last with the help of good planning is a much better idea to do that will surely benefit you in the long run versus just buying carelessly without planning.
Here are the determining factors that you should consider before purchasing your gas tank:
Size and weight always matter especially when you have a small area of storage. You need to know if a certain gas tank can fit in your truck, welding cart, shop, etc. These big tanks can be bulky for tight spaces which is really not advisable.
Anyone would want to buy the bigger sizes but always put into consideration the budget that you have. You would rather choose to buy the one that you can afford.
Bigger tanks are meant for high-volume production. If you know that you are going to use gas in a lot of jobs, then a bigger tank is the best option.
But if you're a home hobbyist who might not weld all the time, a smaller tank size will do. here are a couple of sizes that gas MIG/TIG tanks have on the market.
But let us run down the top 5 gas tank sizes in which either a homeowner, a hobby welder or even big shops will be most likely using; the 20, 40, 80, or 125 cubic feet (“cf”) tanks of Argon or MIG gas mixture (75% Argon, 25% CO2).
The larger tank provides plenty of welding time between refills. It’s a bit more awkward to handle because of the added weight and length, but it’s easy enough to move around and lift for most people.
This size provides plenty of use time without sacrificing too much portability. These enormous tanks are tough to handle, and cause damage or injury if dropped, they’re usually delivered by the supplier to high-volume customers.
Mostly, welders find the 80 cf cylinder size the best option that hits the mark with a balance of run time and ease of handling.
You can carry the smaller 40 cf bottle with one hand to the area where the job needs to be done, so it’s perfect for remote work, or low-volume users. Portable and light.
Small tanks of 20 cf or less capacity aren’t commonly used to TIG or MIG weld. You will commonly see these tanks used in portable oxy-acetylene gas welding kits.
Basically, this is the rule of thumb that we could suggest to you when you are choosing the adequate size of gas tank
If you have the space and the budget, go with the larger 125 cf tank. These really gigantic tanks that you might see in other homes or shops are usually rented. They are for high-volume welders.
Due to it's big size and heavy weight, they usually have to be delivered by the gas supplier. They are not an option and we do not suggest it to hobbyists unless you operate a large operation that requires a lot of work.
Otherwise, select the 40 or 80 cf tank based on your available space and budget.
The 20 cf tank is only meant to be in your portable welding kit.
You could also check in with your local gas supplier before even purchasing a tank if you have one in your area. They can surely assist you with what sizes are popular and why as well as confirm what tanks they can and cannot refill ahead of time to prevent a problem when you go for your first refill.
Furthermore, they can give you insights with certain details, like storage and handling in your climate.
We also suggest that you buy two tanks of your primary gas. That way, you won't need to panic in case your tank runs out of gas.
You can choose to buy tanks of the same size, or go with one large 125 cf tank, and a small 40 cf for backup. That allows you to have a portable tank for minor jobs away from the shop.
It’s also important to know that you really don’t need to stress yourself about choosing the wrong size due to the fact that most gas retailers are good about swapping sizes for the straight difference in price.
Argon gas is significantly important for welders, thus making it a regular need.
There are various factors that determine the amount of time that your gas tank would last. This would depend on the size of the tank, the amount of use.
When you are a first time buyer, you may wonder if your gas tank is refillable?
The answer is a big yes!
In case you were able to purchase your tank online, you may as well check the neck of the tank. If you see the come with a blank neck ring, the tanks are refillable by a supplier of your choice.
If you purchase your tank from a local gas supplier, you can for sure refill your tank from them.
We strongly recommend that you look for a small yet helpful gas supplier. Any decent gas supplier won’t have a problem refilling a good quality customer-owned cylinder. Some large outfits don’t want to deal with low-volume users, that is why it’s a good thing that you check your local options.
The safest way to refill your empty tank is to bring it into a welding supply or the gas supplier where you bought your tank and have them refill it for you. They will take your empty tank as long as it is in good working condition and give you a new full one.
This is the most advisable safest method for all types of gas refilling in order to ensure safe and high-quality tank cylinders.
In this article, we have discussed what argon gas is and why it is vital in the welding industry.
We also laid down the factors when choosing the right gas tank size for you.
Now that you have learned and understood the details of argon gas tanks, we really hope that we have helped you decide and choose the right size for you.
Always remember to learn everything and take all the various factors into consider before you purchase.
Think smart! Buy smart!