What is argon used for?


Quick Answer

Argon is widely used as an inert gas to create an oxygen- and nitrogen-free environment for various heat treating processes. It is used for metal production, welding and metallurgy, lighting and in the automotive industry.

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Full Answer

In the lighting industry, argon is used for filling fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs. Argon does not react with the filament and prevents oxygen from corroding it. In the welding and metal fabrication industry, argon is used to create an inert atmosphere between the surrounding air and liquid metal. The gas also prevents oxidation risks and minimizes smoke emissions.

Argon is used in the automotive industry to weld mufflers, frames and other auto parts. It also creates a nitrogen- and oxygen-free environment for the annealing process and is an important component of airbags. The tires of some luxury vehicles contain argon to reduce road noise and protect the rubber. In metal production, argon is used to create a non-reactive blanket during the manufacture of titanium and other reactive elements and as a protective environment for growing germanium and silicon crystals.

Argon takes up roughly 1 percent of the Earth's atmosphere, making it the third most abundant gas. It is commercially obtained as a by-product of nitrogen and oxygen via the distillation of liquid air. It is odorless and colorless in both its gaseous and liquid states.

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