Sudanese Liquid Air Company Ltd.

Argon (gas)

Argon is a chemical element represented by the symbol Ar. It is atomic no.18 and is the third element in the group of noble gases of the periodic table. Comprising 0.93% of the earth’s atmosphere, Argon is the third most common gas, making it more common than carbon dioxide.


Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air, a process that separates liquid nitrogen (which boils at 77.3 K) from argon, (which boils at 87.3 K) and oxygen (which boils at 90.2 K).

Applications:

Industrial processes

  • Argon is used in some high-temperature industrial processes, where ordinarily non-reactive substances become reactive. For example, an argon atmosphere is used in graphite electric furnaces to prevent the graphite from burning.
  • For some processes where the presence of nitrogen or oxygen gases might cause defects within the material, argon is used such as in various types of metal inert gas welding, such as tungsten inert gas welding, as well as in the processing of titanium and other reactive elements. An argon atmosphere is also used for growing crystals of silicon and germanium.

 

Safety


Although argon is not toxic, it does not satisfy the body's need for oxygen and is an asphyxiate. Argon is 25% more dense than air and is considered highly dangerous in closed areas. It is also difficult to detect because it is colourless, odourless, and tasteless. In confined spaces, it is known to result in death due to asphyxiation. A particular accident in 1994 in Alaska resulting in one fatality highlights the dangers of argon tank leakage in confined spaces, and emphasizes the need for its proper use, storage and handling.

  • Preservative
  • Medical use
  • Laboratory equipment
 

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