Why Do Welders Use Argon | What Is It?

Argon

Shielding gases play a vital role in electric arc welding. They are primarily used to protect the molten material from oxidation and contamination from gases such as Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, etc., around us. For instance, Oxygen in the atmosphere can create defects like porosity by reacting with the molten metal. 

So, why do welders use Argon? Welders use Argon as a shielding gas. Instead of any other choices, they use it because it’s cheap, commonly used colorless, and odorless gases, most importantly, non-toxic. Argon is fit for smoother starts and alternating current applications, also for longer arcs at lower voltages. So, it offers better protection at a much lower cost.

However, it is not the only reason why welders use Argon. It has plenty of other benefits too. This article will help you find the Argon uses in welding and how they help in the process. But before that, knowing what Argon is would be a little help to understand its role. 

What are Shielding Gasses?

The term’ shielding gas’ is fundamentally used when welders refer to Argon. These gasses can be strangely beneficial for anyone performing any welding work. These protect the metals from any reaction that can happen in the air. 

Shielding gas is indispensable, considering it helps the welder take care of the metal they’re working with. It also prevents any disruptions from the metal and allows the welder to work without any worries. 

However, thinking the Argon is the only shielding gas would be wrong. So, even though Argon is a vital shielding agent, it is not the only component to perform this. Helium is also something that welders use because it works like Argon and can deliver better results. 

What is Argon

Argon is a colorless, odorless gas, a chemical element with the symbol Ar. It is one of the noble gases and the third most abundant gas in our atmosphere. Due to its large availability, it is cheaper as compared to other welding gases. It is produced by distillation of liquid air and then sold in gas bottles. 

welding cylinder

Welders use Argon in different weld techniques. It provides several benefits to welding and makes it more durable and seamless. Because of its usefulness in welding, it is the industry’s most frequently used noble gasses. Most importantly, the gas is non-toxic. Hence, it is safe to use if used under precautions.

Why Do Welders Use Argon?

We have already briefed you about Argon gas. In welding, welders use it as a shielding gas. Below are some benefits of using Argon as a welding gas. 

1. Protects the Molten Metal

High-temperatures in welding is necessary to molt the metals. These temperatures sometimes cross 5000-degree celsius. At this temperature, these molten metals can react with harmful gasses in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen, hydrogen, and Oxygen, and create problems like porosity, etc. 

Molten Metal
Molten Metal

It is a “lazy” gas that hardly reacts with any other gasses around us. Using a shielding gas, such as Argon, ensures protection by working as a layer between the molten material and outside gasses. 

2. Ensures Durability 

The purpose of using any shielding gas is to protect your weld from dangers, such as corrosion, porosity, etc. Since Argon is a non-reactive, non-toxic gas, it works as a barrier- something that we said before. But, what more is that it also ensures durability and stability of the weld. It is why welders pick Argon as a shielding gas that ensures the durability of the weld. 

2. Cheap

Argon is the third most abundant gasses in the atmosphere. But, it is also the highest used gas in the industrial field. Thanks to its easy availability, Argon is cheap and affordable. So, welders can purchase and use it easily for TIG and MIG welding processes. 

Must Know:- Is Welding Bad for Your Eyes?

Types of Argon Gas that Welders Use

Argon is an essential gas for welding. But different welders use different gas of different densities and purities. It is a combination of components that is much less effective when compared with pure Argon gases but is a far less expensive alternative that welders can opt-in. Welders who use different metals and alloys at a time use 99.996% Argon which is the most commonly used type. This type is also one of the most effective among others. 

Welding Gas

Pure Argon is another type of Argon gas that is free of any other components. It does not have traces of any other gas or elements. But a few welders choose this type while going in for welding. Some welders even prefer using a mix of Argon and CO2. This mixture is far less efficient than pure Argon. But it is a popular and cheaper combination, especially for welding thin sheets of steel.  

Another type of Argon gas is medical grade Argon. It is the purest form of Argon without any traces of any other element or compound. But medical-grade Argon is expensive, and using it does not have much difference from the others. It is why welders rarely use this type while going in. 

Is Argon Dangerous?

Welding is itself a risky job. You need to be careful with anything and everything you use while welding. Argon gas does have safety concerns, but, in general, it is a very safe gas. We have previously mentioned that it is a non-toxic, non-flammable gas. So, it’s not poisonous and won’t catch fire. So, welders can use Argon regularly for various welding jobs. 

Welding Cancer

Yet, it comes in a compressed can, for which you have to maintain some safety protocols. Pay close attention to the regular compression tank safety notes while using the tank. Another danger with Argon gas is its density. Argon is 38% denser than other gases. So, it can fill the air, making it heavier and hard to breathe. 

So, make sure you work in an open atmosphere – preferably outside. And if you still want to work indoors, ensure you have ample ventilation. But even if Argon is safe, you must not overlook the safety protocols related to welding. So, make sure you follow those and wear proper PPE before starting your job. 

Related:- What is Undercut in Welding?

How Long Should My Tank Last?

Argon comes in a compressed tank. How long it would last depends on certain factors, such as pressure settings, frequency of use, overall usage, tank components, combinations, etc. 

Also, the tank size plays a vital role here. Most welders receive a 30 to 40 SCF tank. It should be serving you enough for at least 4-5 months. However, you will also find tank sizes bigger or smaller than this. 

Do I Need An Argon Regulator?

We recommend using Argon regulators for those who use Argon daily on their welding jobs. Having an Argon regulator has many benefits. It controls the flow of Argon out of the tank and provides a more stable and consistent gas supply. But, all regulators do not fit all the tanks. It will help if you buy a regulator that fits your tank only after checking your tank.  

Conclusion

Every element used in welding can be dangerous. Even such a non-toxic, non-flammable gas has a 38% higher density than other gases. If your surroundings’ concentration gets too high, it can push the air out of your lungs. It would lead to asphyxiation. So, always ensure that you are wearing proper PPEs and have suitable welding extraction systems installed on the premises. Don’t forget the welding risks related to welding. That said, we hope that you spend your time welding happily and safely.