Argon gas, hidden and not so hidden costs.
Argon Gas is a chemical element with symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv). It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor (which averages about 4000 ppmv, but varies greatly), 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide (400 ppmv), and more than 500 times as abundant as neon (18 ppmv). Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth’s crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust. (Wikipedia)
According to the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association standard or regular welding gas is 99.995% pure. Standard argon welding gas in the green bottle contains impurities over 50 Parts per million. Sometimes, delicate work requires better gas. Ultra Pure Argon gas comes in at 99.9995 or 5 parts per million Oxygen. Ultra Pure Grade (5 parts per million) is around three times the cost of standard welding gas. If good procedures are not in place, thousands of dollars can vanish, literally into thin Air. Save Argon, save money.
Use these four tips and save Argon Gas wisely.
Use the cheap stuff first
When purging, or when performing work that does not require ultra high purity gas.Lesser purity gas that costs one-third the price. Save argon costs by starting with regular argon gas. For example: If you have a purge style chamber, use less expensive gas to 1,000 PPM and then stop and switch to the good stuff. Take-a-way: Save argon gas “high purity” for the end of the purge.
Let gravity do the work. No need for Einstein, Newton will do: (F=G(m1*m2)/r^2)
A high-speed tornado inside your chamber results in the Argon blending in or emulsifying with the air. Gas is wasted purifying the emulsification. Most of the time, it’s not faster to purge to input gas faster. Mixing argon gas well with air creates a blender effect and adding argon gas slower lessens the blender effect – where that gasses mix as if they are in a blender. Argon is 1.4 the weight of oxygen. As a result, let gravity work for you, give Argon a chance to settle and Oxygen time to rise.
Gently lift the lid.
Gently lifting the lid allows the heavier Argon to stay at the bottom. Instead of needing 16 more cubic feet, eight more are needed. A 50% gas savings for moving slowly. Hydra opened up the wide mouth hood on a chamber during a test, and after the door closed, the PPM levels were in the 500’s. Noteworthy, slow is better, slow and steady allows the argon gas to stay settled.
Use a meter to measure Argon Gas level
Fiddling around inside a purge style chamber before it’s done purging delays the process of purification. What every air/argon stratification needs is peace. Disturbing the stratification with waving delays the work starting time and requires more argon. In summary, wait until you get good readings or close to your readings before waving around.
Another thing to think about when you purchase your oxygen meter, “Should I get the more expensive pump kind?”. It depends. A long hose on a non-pump meter might take a long time to provide accurate readings.
Contact us – we can help with your Argon Welding Chamber
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