Oxygen is not only vital for human survival but also has several industrial applications. Apart from its obvious medical uses, it is a crucial gas for industries like metal fabrication, construction, and automotive repair.
Oxygen is commonly used in plasma cutters as it offers the fastest cutting speed and the highest quality of cuts compared to other plasma gases.
What is plasma cutting?
Plasma cutting is the process of cutting through electrically conductive surfaces such as aluminum, brass, copper, and steel using a jet of hot plasma.
A plasma cutter sends pressurized gas through a small channel to create a circuit. A spark is then generated between a negative electrode and metal which reacts with an inert gas to create a stream of plasma that reduces the metal to molten slag.
The most common plasma gases that are sent through a cutter include nitrogen, argon, and oxygen.
Advantages of Oxygen as a Plasma-Cutting Gas
Why do some consider oxygen to be the best gas for plasma cutting?
With the right KnowHow, oxygen can offer the cleanest cuts and faster cutting speeds. This is especially true when it is used on carbon steels with thicknesses of up to one and a quarter inches.
Oxygen offers the highest-quality mechanized cuts with a smooth surface. In its plasma form, it interacts with carbon steel, creating fine molten metal which is conveniently ejected from the cut or kerf.
Oxygen is widely used in plasma torches for the same reason that it works well in acetylene torches. It reacts with steel to boost cutting speed and improve edge quality.
Apart from these benefits, oxygen is also known to work effectively in combination with other secondary fuels.
Disadvantages of Oxygen as a Plasma-Cutting Gas
On the other hand, the use of oxygen in plasma cutting also has its fair share of setbacks.
The high cost of oxygen doesn’t always make it the most convenient option, especially since other gases, like argon and hydrogen, could work just as well on certain metals.
Oxygen also doesn’t work as well on shiny surfaces, making it an ineffective gas when used to cut stainless steel and aluminum projects.
But when dealing with steel, oxygen has become the standard gas for businesses that want to Forge Forward as it offers the fastest cutting speed of any plasma gas.
The Bottom Line: nexAir Solves All Your Plasma Cutting Needs
nexAir, the Southeast’s largest distributor of atmospheric gases and welding supplies, understands the importance of oxygen as a plasma-cutting gas.
Apart from being a leading supplier of oxygen to the aerospace, automotive, chemical, and construction industries, nexAir recently introduced a state-of-the-art CNC (computer numerical control) plasma cutting system. An affordable, high-speed precision cutting solution, our plasma cutter is ideal for meeting the steel processing needs of a broad range of organizations.
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