Oxygen is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and it makes up just over 20% by volume of the substances found in our atmosphere. It is an abundant element on earth and it bonds with other elements in compounds such as silicates, oxides, and water.
Where Commercial and Industrial Oxygen Comes From
Industrial Uses of Oxygen
As important oxygen is to support life on the planet, it is also a crucial element of many commercial and industrial processes, both as a gas and in a cryogenic liquid form.
Oxygen is commonly used in industrial processes to improve combustible materials, as it releases a lot of heat when it reacts.
Ozone (O3) is more reactive than ordinary oxygen and it is found naturally through electrical discharges from lighting. Large amounts of O3 are used for environmental and industrial treatment processes or added to air in small quantities to improve air quality and provide a “fresh air” scent.
Welding and Metal Fabrication
Oxygen can be combined with shielding gasses to enhance arc stability and reduce the surface tension of molten steel. The most common use of oxygen in metal fabrication is in steel cutting, where the cutter creates a controlled reaction between oxygen and steel to form iron oxide, which can be described as a rapid, controlled rusting.
The steel industry is one of the largest users of industrial oxygen to enrich air and increase combustion temperatures. The steelmaking process requires the use of blast furnaces and open hearth furnaces that require high temperatures. Oxygen is fed into the steel bath using a special lance that allows for the use of scrap steel in electric arc furnaces. Industrial oxygen is used to make and enrich other metals such as copper, lead, and zinc.
Chemical and Manufacturing
Oxygen is used as a raw material in many oxidation processes to create compounds for manufacturing such as ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, and vinyl chloride. Oxygen is also used as a combustion agent in destroying hazardous waste materials in incinerators.
Used during surgeries, intensive care, and assisting with respiratory therapy, oxygen used in healthcare needs high standards of purity and handling to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers.
How to Use Oxygen Safely
Pure oxygen will accelerate the combustion of almost any material, and it is especially dangerous in the presence of oil and grease, which could ignite and cause an explosion. Combustibles should be kept away from stored oxygen and this includes cylinders, valves, regulators and other hose apparatuses. Never handle oxygen cylinders or apparatuses with oily hands or gloves. Oxygen should never be used in any air tools where compressed air is normally used.
When welding, oxygen use can be extremely dangerous in certain situations, and one of the most common is reverse flow. Reverse flow occurs when bottled oxygen is nearly empty at the same time that another fuel gas such as acetylene is not causing the acetylene to flow into the oxygen hose and regulator.
Always move oxygen bottles with a two-wheeled dollie, never by rolling it, as it could fall and become damaged. Damaged cylinders that are under high pressure can become dangerous projectiles and cause injury or property damage.
The Right Product, Every Time
CK Supply provides O2 cylinders in a variety of sizes and pressures for any commercial or industrial purpose. Our goal is to make sure you have the correct materials and chemicals on hand to produce your products, fuel your processes, and get projects done the right way. If you need high-grade industrial oxygen in any quantity, for any industrial use, call CK today!