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An Overview of the Purification of Inert Gases

Inert gases, such as nitrogen, argon, helium, and neon, play a crucial role in various industries and scientific applications. However, to meet the stringent requirements of many applications, inert gases must undergo purification processes to achieve high levels of purity— an inert gas purifier is essential for research and development engineers, scientists and production staff to obtain purity.

From welding and electronics to food preservation and research, these gases are valued for their non-reactive nature. Let’s look into the world of inert gas purification, exploring the methods, benefits and applications of these high-purity gases.

Understanding Inert Gases and Their Importance

Inert gases, also known as noble gases, occupy Group 18 of the periodic table and have stable electron configurations. Their lack of reactivity makes them ideal for applications where other gases might cause unwanted chemical reactions. Common inert gases include nitrogen (N2), argon (Ar), helium (He), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and neon (Ne).

The Need for Purification

While inert gases are naturally abundant, they often contain impurities in various forms, such as moisture, hydrocarbons, oxygen and other reactive elements. These impurities can have adverse effects on specific applications. For instance, in gas chromatography or semiconductor manufacturing, even trace amounts of impurities can result in inaccurate test results or compromised electronic components. The purification of inert gases is essential to ensure their reliability and performance in diverse industries.

Looking for an inert gas purifier? Shop R.D. Mathis Company’s collection.

Purification Methods

Several methods are employed to purify inert gases, and the choice of technique depends on the specific gas and its intended application. Some common purification methods include:

  • Cryogenic Distillation: This method utilizes differences in boiling points to separate the inert gas from impurities. The gas is cooled to extremely low temperatures, causing impurities to condense and separate from the purified gas.
  • Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA): PSA relies on the selective adsorption of impurities on solid adsorbents. By adjusting pressure, impurities are trapped while the purified gas is released.
  • Membrane Separation: Membrane systems use permeable membranes to separate gases based on their molecular sizes. Smaller molecules pass through the membrane, leaving impurities behind.
  • Gas Absorption: In this method, inert gases are passed through a liquid solvent that selectively absorbs impurities, leaving the purified gas behind.

Benefits of High-Purity Inert Gases

The purification of inert gases to high levels of purity offers several advantages:

  • Enhanced Performance: In sensitive applications like electronics manufacturing, high-purity inert gases minimize the risk of component failure and ensure better device performance.
  • Accurate Testing and Analysis: In scientific research and gas chromatography, impurity-free gases provide precise and reliable results.
  • Consistent Welding and Cutting: High-purity inert gases in welding processes result in cleaner and more reliable welds.

Applications of Purified Inert Gases

Purified inert gases find applications in diverse fields, including:

  • Welding and metal fabrication
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Food packaging and preservation
  • Lighting and illumination
  • Medical and healthcare industries
  • Gas chromatography and analytical research

The purification of inert gases to high purity is a crucial process that ensures the reliability and efficiency of these gases in numerous industries and scientific applications. From improving semiconductor performance to providing accurate gas analysis, high-purity inert gases play an indispensable role in modern technology and research. As technology advances, the demand for increasingly pure inert gases will continue to grow, driving further innovations in purification techniques and their applications.

R.D. Mathis Company’s Inert Gas Purifiers

If you’re seeking a reliable and experienced partner in the world of inert gas solutions, look no further than R.D. Mathis Company. With a proven track record spanning several decades, we stand out as a leading provider of high-quality products and services for inert gas purifiers, gas handling equipment and vacuum deposition systems. 

Visit our website to learn more. 

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