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Argon

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Argon

Argon is a noble gas which makes up 0.93 percent of the earth's atmosphere.
Noble gases are a group of rare gases that include argon, helium, krypton, neon, xenon and sometimes radon. They exhibit great stability and extremely low reaction rates.

Technical Properties
Product: argon
Chemical formula: Ar
Purity level: ≥ 99.996%
Relative density (air = 1): 1.38
Aspect: colourless gas
Odour: odourless gas
Limit of flammability in air: not flammable
Other properties: nontoxic and noncorrosive; it exhibits low thermal conductivity and slight solubility in water.


Technical properties

Argon is used in several applications, which are listed below.

Aluminium manufacturing
In the aluminium industry, argon is used:

  • to replace air or nitrogen, creating an inert atmosphere conducive
  • to assist in the removal of unwanted soluble gases during degasification
  • to remove dissolved hydrogen and particulates from molten aluminum.

Steel processing and manufacturing
In the steel industry, argon is used:

  • to displace gas or vapours and prevent oxidation
  • to obtain temperature consistency and homogenous composition by stirring molten steel
  • to assist in the removal of unwanted soluble gases during degasification
  • as a carrier gas, to determine the composition of a sample through gas chromatography
  • to flush out carbon monoxide and reduce chromium losses in the Argon-Oxygen Decarburization (A.O.D.) used during stainless steel refining.

Metal fabrication
In metal fabrication, argon is used:

  • to create an inert gas shield during welding
  • to provide an oxygen and nitrogen free environment for annealing and rolling metals and alloys
  • to flush molten metals to eliminate porosity in castings.

Semiconductor manufacturing
In the semiconductor industry, argon is used:

  • to provide a protective atmosphere and heat-transfer medium for growing germanium and silicon crystals.

Lighting
In lighting, argon is used:

  • to fill incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
  • to create a blue light in neon-type lamps.

Although non-toxic, argon can cause asphyxia in high concentrations. Furthermore, contact with the liquid product can cause cold and freezer burns. To avoid these harmful effects, producers and customers should follow strict safety guidelines for storage and handling, and consult our argon Material Safety Data Sheet.

A co-product of oxygen and nitrogen production, argon is manufactured commercially by means of air separation technology. This process consists of separating the components contained in the air:

  • nitrogen (78 %)
  • oxygen (21 %)
  • argon (0,9 %)
  • other gases (0,1 %).

Present day plants represent the evolution of the Claude-Linde process named after the French and German scientists who contributed to their development; for air cooling they initially adopted isoenthalpic expansion, just with pressure drop, and later isoentropic expansion, with energy production.
The plant consists of two columns, one above the other, operating at different pressures and with gas flow (rising) and liquid flow (descending) in equilibrium between the gas and liquid phases. As one gets towards the top of the column there is an increasing concentration of nitrogen and towards the bottom an increasing concentration of oxygen.

Argon is obtained in a third fractionation column, in which the distillation process is repeated on an oxygen-argon mixture taken from an intermediate point of the upper column.
Present day air separation plants have reached a high degree of automation and their control is carried out via a computer; the control system handles the entire production cycle and the following phase of product distribution up to storage or utilization.
In the Osio Sopra production plant, the best constructed installation in Italy in the field of Industrial Gases and the biggest of SIAD's production units, the new air separation plant T 1000, which was started-up in September 1997 and replaced part of the old plants, assures a production capacity of the site of 1300 tons of oxygen per day.
The plant was designed by SIAD MACCHINE IMPIANTI.

Argon supply options and services available to SIAD customers include:

  • transport in cylinders, cylinder packs or tanks
  • design and installation of gas distribution systems
  • supply of equipment for the correct use of the gas
  • assistance and technical consultancy for the transport, distribution and application of the gas.

Argon can also be supplied:

  • with grade 5.0 - 5.5 - 5.8 purity
  • in special and in calibration mixtures with differing composition upon request.

Supply modes