Your Guide to Industrial Gases: What are the main industrial gases, how are they used and what industries do they serve?
It comes to no shocking surprise that gases are used in just about every industry, for many different reasons. The major industrial gases are nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, hydrogen, acetylene and helium. It is important to fully understand each gas and their intended uses – and at nexAir, we not only provide our customers with high quality industrial gases, but we also apply our expert KnowHow to educate them every step of the way.
What are the main industrial gases?
Industrial gases can be defined as the gaseous materials that are manufactured for use in industry. As stated, the principal gases provided are nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, hydrogen, helium and acetylene. There are also many other gases and mixtures available in cylinders. Let’s take a closer look at each of the gases:
Nitrogen: Nitrogen (N2) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a common element in the universe and makes up 80% of the atmospheric air that we breathe. Nitrogen is available in liquid and gaseous forms. Industrial uses of nitrogen include industries such as, aerospace and aircraft, automotive, chemical, food and beverage, welding and fabrication. Within these industries nitrogen plays important roles like as an assist gas in laser cutting applications, as a safety component in vehicle airbags, as a pressurizing gas, extending the shelf life by displacing oxygen in food packaging, used for arc stability as a shielding gas for MIG and TIG welding and much more.
Oxygen: Oxygen (O2) is also a color and odorless gas, and is the third most abundant element in the universe by mass. All living things depend on oxygen and it is obtained on a commercial scale through liquefaction and distillation of ambient air. Industrial uses of oxygen include, being used as a plasma cutting gas in the automotive industry, support rocket fuel combustion in the aerospace industry, used to make chloroethene, used as high purity oxygen in healthcare, mixed with other fuel gases for welding and metal fabrication and most commonly used in combustion.
Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide (CO2) can be found in natural CO2 springs, fermentation processes or limestone kilns. It can be delivered in cylinders and gas mixtures and is available in liquid and gaseous forms. Some of the industrial uses of carbon dioxide are used for blast chilling in the food and beverage industry, in the medical field for respiratory therapy and can be mixed with argon in the welding process.
Argon: Argon (Ar) is a colorless, odorless, non-reactive inert gas and is the third most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is available in liquid and gaseous forms and can be used in various applications such as, the production of lightbulbs and lasers in aerospace, can be combined with other gases to weld auto parts, to fill spaces between double and triple paned windows in construction, help to protect wine against oxidation and spoilage and a more common use, as a shielding gas for arc welding.
Hydrogen: Hydrogen (H2) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that will burn with an invisible, clean flame. It can be used as a fuel for rocket engines in aerospace, as an alternate fuel, reducing undesirable emissions in the automotive industry and as a shielding gas in TIG and plasma welding.
Helium: Helium (He) is sourced mainly from natural gas wells and has the lowest boiling point on Earth. Helium is available in liquid and gaseous forms and can be used in applications such as, purging hydrogen systems in the aerospace industry, to test for leaks and ensure quality on automotive parts, to help operate MRI and NMP machinery in healthcare and is an ideal gas for welding materials with high conductivity.
Acetylene: Acetylene (C2H2) is a colorless gas that is lighter than atmospheric air. It is one of the hottest gases and the most efficient of all fuel gases. It is commonly used in the plastics industry to produce PVC and PVDF, in scientific research to determine the age of carbon based items and for welding steel in the welding industry.
At nexAir, we are proud to offer a wide range of high quality industrial gas solutions. Each one of our gases adhere to top-tier quality and safety solutions before they leave and you can rest assured in knowing that you will never be without the gas and knowledge that you need to Forge Forward. Ready to get started? Contact us today – no matter the requirements, we can fill it exactly how you need it!
Looking out for your future
Get your career going on the right track with nexAir
Industry Knowledge and Expertise
Find out how nexAir KnowHow has impacted businesses all over the Southeast
nexAir in the news
Our expertise makes us more than a valuable partner, it makes us headlines
nexAir is always open!
Don't see what you're looking for?
Everything we offer is a click away and it will arrive before you know it.