Food and Beverage
Argon can be used in a controlled atmosphere to replace nitrogen in most applications. Its solubility (twice that of nitrogen) and certain molecular characteristics give it special properties for use with vegetables. Under certain conditions, it slows down metabolic reactions and significantly reduces breathing (§ ALIGAL™).
Glass, Cement and Lime
Argon is used for the filling of double glazing enclosures for high performance thermal isolation.
Argon is used to prevent contact, hence interaction, between liquid metal and the surrounding atmosphere.
Applications include melt stirring, tun dish purging to prevent steel re-oxidation and secondary steel refining in vacuum degassers, such as the VOD, RH, RH-OB. However, the largest quantities of argon are consumed in the AOD process for decarburising raw high-chromiumsteels while minimizing the chromium oxidation.
Laboratories & analysis
Used pure and in mixtures for industrial and hospital analyses and quality control.
More particularly, argon is used as plasma gas in inductive coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICP), blanket gas in graphite funace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) and as carrier gas in gas chromatography for various detector.
In mixture with methane, argon is used in Geiger counter and in the detector of X Ray Fluorescence (XRF) as quentching gas.
Welding, Cutting & Coating
Argon is a shield gas used in arc welding, root shielding and plasma cutting.
Argon protects welds against oxidation as well as reduces fume emissions during welding.
Ultra-pure argon is used as carrier gas for reactive molecules, as inert gas to protect semiconductors against impurities (e.g. Argon provides the atmosphere for growing crystals of silicon and germanium).
Under ionic state, argon is used for sputtering, ion implantation, annealing and etching processes in semiconductor or high performance material manufacturing.
Automotive & transportation
Packaged pressurized argon is used to inflate car airbags.
Argon is used as inert atmosphere in incandescent light bulb. Argon filling avoids the corrosion of the tungsten filament and consequently the blackening of the bulb.
In mixture with some hydrocarbons, argon is used in radio tubes and Geiger counters.