Thursday, January 23, 2014

Uses of Argon

Argon is an inert (or ‘noble’) gas, is listed in the periodic table as ‘Ar’, and was discovered in 1894 by Sir William Ramsay and Lord Rayleigh. Argon is manufactured by distilling the liquid air, and is one of the most abundant gases (third most abundant) in the earth’s atmosphere, and therefore inexpensive and environmentally friendly. It has multiple industrial and business uses.

Uses of Argon in Manufacturing Industry
Pure Argon, as well as when it is mixed with other gases, is used in “tungsten inert gas” welding purposes, as also in casting. Argon is also is used in the making of specialty alloys and for manufacturing titanium.

During manufacturing of steel in a converter, addition of argon reduces chromium losses and the desired carbon content can therefore be achieved at a lower temperature. Further, Argon is also used as a blowing gas during the manufacturing process of higher quality steels, so as to avoid the formation of nitrides.

Argon is used in the manufacturing of aluminum, for the purpose of hydrogen removal (and degasification in general), as well as other particulates. It is also used as an inert gas in the manufacturing of titanium manufacturing process, as titanium can react with nitrogen. Zirconium manufacture also uses argon for providing an inert atmosphere..

Uses of Argon in Healthcare Industry
Argon lasers find application in the treatment of retinal detachment as well as for retinal phototherapy for diabetics. Also, kidney tumors are treated using cryo-needles, as part of a procedure in cooled argon cryosurgery. Argon surgery is also used to treat heart arrhythmias.

Uses of Argon in Food and Beverages Industry
Argon also finds uses in food and beverages industry because of its inertness. It is added in wine barrels. Since, it is denser than air and settles above the liquid, thereby preventing its oxidation and souring of wine. Similarly, it is also used to provide an inert atmosphere for open wine and liquor bottles in bars and restaurants.

Uses of Argon in Lighting
Argon is used in neon tubes. When electricity is passed, it produces a purplish-blue glow. Since it gets charged and starts emitting light at a much lower voltage, it saves money and is therefore a preferred gas for this purpose. It has a similar application in fluorescent lighting as well.

Further, argon (or some other inert gas) is also used in light bulbs, as it prevents quick oxidation of the filament and therefore prolongs the life of the bulb.

Other Uses of Argon
Argon gas is used in superior quality thermal glass window panes. Given the inert nature of the gas, Argon is also used to give a protective atmosphere for old documents, so as to prevent their degradation during display and storage. Argon is also used (along with methane) to provide an inert atmosphere during manufacturing of silicone and germanium crystals for use in the semiconductor industry.


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