All About Argon

Argon is an inert gas that is both colorless and odorless and that is grouped in the Noble gases.  Argon is so named from the Greek word for “lazy,” as a result of its tendency to have little reactivity when forming compounds. This gas is most commonly used in welding and additionally used regularly in fluorescent lighting.

According to Chemicool, a large abundance of the argon on Earth is the isotope argon-40, which is created from the radioactive decay of potassium-40. Contrarily, argon in space is generated from stars, that occurs when two hydrogen nuclei fuse with silicon-32, resulting in the isotope argon-36.

Argon, while inert, is not limited. Contrarily, this gas makes up around 0.9 percent of Earth’s atmosphere. According to calculations by Chemicool, this signifies that there exists around 65 million metric tons of argon in the atmosphere, and that quantity continues to grow as potassium-40 decays over time.

To detail a few of its characteristics, Argon (Ar) has the atomic number 18 and an atomic weight of 39.948. At room temperature, Argon is a gas.

Argon was first come across in 1785 when a British scientist named Henry Cavendish discovered a fraction of air that seemed especially inert. At first, Cavendish could not determine what this air was. It was not until over one hundred years later in 1894 that two men, Lord Rayleigh and Scottish chemist William Ramsey managed to accurately classify and describe the gas, eventually earning themselves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery. In addition to this, analyzing argon’s elemental properties also led Ramsey to the discovery of helium, neon, krypton, and xenon.

Due to its inertness, argon is often employed in industrial jobs that necessitate for a non-reactive atmosphere. In addition, argon works well as an effective insulator, which has led to it commonly being used to warm divers while deep-sea diving. Argon is likewise used in historical preservation and is pumped around valuable documents such as the Magna Carta and a world map from 1507. Unlike oxygen and similar reactive elements, the argon helps protect the paper and ink on these important documents.

In addition, there are many obscure utilizations for argon. For example, argon is used in neon lights that shine blue, since neon itself gives off an orange-red color. Likewise, argon is frequently utilized in laser technology, including the lasers used in vision correction surgeries such as LASIK and PRK procedures. Argon has even been used to discover contaminated groundwater in a few locations in the United States. In this instance, argon and other noble gases were injected into wells where they combined with methane.

At the current time, there is a significant amount of research being performed on argon to discover additional potential uses of the gas. For example, it is right now being studied as a potential alternative to the expensive gas xenon and its part in treatment of brain injuries. In addition, a few experiments have found that argon could at some point be used to help brain injuries that have happened a result of oxygen deprivation or other traumatic incidents. A review published in the Medical Gas Research journal discovered that in a significant amount of instances, treating injuries with argon far reduced the death of brain cells. Researchers are not yet clear about why argon has this effect on brain cells. Up to now, argon has been utilized in this research by either being administered directly to cells in a culture dish or administered mixed with oxygen in a facemask for animal studies. As argon research progresses, it is becoming increasingly likely that trials on humans will commence at some point. Still, there appear to be risks associated with argon treatment, thus more research must be conducted until this practice can be used.

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