First things first, you are currently inhaling Argon (Ar) right now. Fortunately, Argon has no warning properties and only accounts for less than 1% of the air you breathe. It is a harmless gas that does not affect any living organisms, including humans.
While this trace amount of Ar does not affect living things or the Earth’s climate, it’s still useful to scientists and modern society. Here are five of the most common applications you’ve probably seen but not realised that there’s some “Ar” to it.
Ar is normally used in its gaseous state, so it’s widely utilised in the lighting industry. Ar is an inert gas that does not react with the bulb’s filament at extremely high temperatures.
If you simply fill the bulb with air, the filament would react with the oxygen in the air, effectively burning out the tungsten – the filament that glows when electricity is channelled into it.
Please note that tungsten (the filament) vaporises during the heating process. Without an inert gas, such as Ar, it would be hard to contain the filament and keep the atoms from bouncing and coating the inside of the bulb.
Since inert gases do not react with other elements, it will help extend the bulb’s life. And when combined with other rare gases, it is also used to fill special bulbs and tubes for enhanced colour effects.
Argon is also used as a shielding gas in MIG and TIG welding and plasma cutting.
Metals are frequently exposed to over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit during the welding process. It’s a high temperature that normal people wouldn’t survive without protection.
Argon is called a shielding gas because it doesn’t react with the gases or metals hovering near the welded metals.
Instead, it takes up space and prevents other potentially harmful reactions caused by reactive gases like nitrogen and oxygen from occurring.
Argon is also called a medical gas because of its numerous applications in the healthcare industry.
Ar has proven effective in treating diabetic patients with retinal detachment and phototherapy.
It is also used in cryosurgery, which involves extreme cold to destroy small areas of diseased or abnormal tissue, most commonly on the skin.
In addition, Ar lasers are utilised in surgery to join arteries and remove tumours. The Ar laser system is primarily used in the medical field because it can target areas with extreme precision.
One of the most intriguing applications of argon (Ar) gas is preserving historical documents.
You may notice extremely rare and significant historical documents displayed in glass cases when you go to a museum.
Occasionally, Ar is used to fill the glass cases instead of regular air. As mentioned, the inert characteristic of Ar does not react with the chemicals in paper or ink, which aids in document preservation.
In short, Ar gas can act as a protective atmosphere.
Unlike reactive oxygen, Ar does not deteriorate the paper or ink of sensitive documents, preventing damage while they are stored and displayed.
Ar has been shown to have no known negative effects on the environment. As a result, the unharmful trait of Ar has only boosted its stock as a friendly gas that millions of people can rely upon.
If you’re working on a science project or doing some crazy laboratory stuff, then it would also be best to find a reputable Ar dealer to offer you only premium supplies.