Argon (Ar) gas is an inert, colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-toxic gas. Present in air at concentrations below 1% (0.934%) by volume.
Characteristics of Argon gas – Ar . gas
- Argon gas is a member of a special group of gases called “noble”, “noble” or “inert” gases. Other gases in this group are helium, neon, krypton, xenon, and radon. They are monoatoms with a maximum outer shell containing all electrons. The terms “noble” and “inert” are used to indicate that the ability to chemically interact with other materials is very weak. All members of this group emit light upon electrical stimulation. Argon gas produces a bluish-purple light.
- The average boiling point of Argon Gas is a very cold -302.6°F (-185.9°C). Located between the boiling points of nitrogen and oxygen, the two main components of air. This gas is approximately 1.4 times that of air and is slightly soluble in water. The freezing point of Argon Gas is only slightly below its normal boiling point, -308.8°F (-199.3°C).
- Argon is valuable for its overall inertness, especially at high temperatures. Argon is used in important industrial processes such as the production of high-quality stainless steel. Producing impurity-free silicon crystals for semiconductor manufacturing. Argon is also used as an inert sealant for light bulbs. As a drying agent, heavier than air or nitrogen. Use for space between glass panels in windows.
Argon is the most common of the true or “rare” inert gases.
- It is manufactured, as a commercial product. Most commonly combined with the production of high purity oxygen using air distillation. Because the boiling point of argon is very close to that of oxygen (the difference is only 5.3°F or 2.9°C). Separating pure argon from oxygen requires several stages of distillation.
- For decades, the most common argon recovery and purification process has used several steps:
- Step 1: Take a “reduced” stream from the primary air distillation system at a point in the low-pressure column where the argon concentration is highest.
- Step 2: processing a column of raw argon brings nitrogen to a low-pressure column and produces a crude argon product.
- Step 3: Heat raw argon and react with oxygen impurity. Typically about 2% in line with controlled amounts of hydrogen to form water.
- Step 4: Purify steam by condensation and adsorption.
- Step 5: Re-cool the gas to freezing temperature.
- Step 6: remove the remaining components that are not argon. Small amounts of nitrogen and hydrogen have not been removed through distillation. In a column distilled pure argon.
Super cold distillation
With the development of column packing technology. Allows supercooled distillation to be performed at low pressure.
Many plants now use a whole distillation process that is supercooled.
Argon gas can be referred to as “PLAR” (pure liquid agon). “CLAR” (liquid argon), or by the chemical designation “Ar”. Raw argon gas is generally considered an intermediate in a pure argon production facility. It can also be the end product for some low capacity gas separation plants. It is then taken to larger facilities to be purified into pure Argon Gas. Some raw argon is also sold as a final product. For applications where high purity is not required.
Argon gas in commerce
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