Without regard for what you cut, where you cut, or how you cut, MATHESON is prepared to supply you with the gases and equipment you need to get it right, clean, and professional.
Gases for Fuel Gas Cutting
Commonly, fuel gases – acetylene, propane, propylene, natural gas – are used for cutting. Fuel gas cutting is easily employed in virtually any setting, and does not require a power source.
MATHESON supplies fuel gases, oxygen, and equipment for fuel gas cutting. See the Fuel Gas section of this website for information on gases; contact us for details and availability of gases and the related equipment.
Gases for Plasma Cutting
Plasma cutters use an electic arc to deliver some performance advantages over fuel gas cutting – in terms of speed and material thickness. Plasma cutters are also easily deployed for automation using CNC table systems.
As is the case with arc welding, there are a few gases from which to choose for plasma cutting, with the choices determined by:
- Material type.
- Material thickness.
- Desired/required cut quality – in terms of cut smoothness and cut speed.
Choice of shield gas – used to ensure constant conditions during cutting – can sometimes play a role in cut quality.
For all gas options, contact us for guidance on gas selection, and for details and availability of gases and the related equipment (including plasma cutting equipment).
Typical Plasma Cutting Gas and Shield Gas Combinations
The information here on gas combinations should be viewed as guidance, not hard-and-fast rules. Contact your MATHESON Gas Professional for additional information.
Air Plasma with Air Shield
for routine cutting on all materials
Air is an economical, versatile choice that provides good results in non-demanding applications. Air can typically be used on material up to 1 inch thick. Air plasma can oxidize the area around the cut, which could impact the weldability of the edge.
Invariably, when air is the plasma gas, air should also be used as shielding gas. Air can be used for cutting mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminium.
Oxygen Plasma with Air Shield
superior results on mild steel
Oxygen is ideal for mild steel cutting, and capable of clean cutting and high speed. Oxygen is typically not recommended for stainless steel or aluminum.
Nitrogen Plasma with Air, Carbon Dioxide, or Water Shield
superior results for aluminium and stainless steel; best choice for extended parts durability
Nitrogen as a plasma gas will provide the best parts life among the plasma gas options. Nitrogen is well suited for use on stainless steel or aluminum (for mild steel, oxygen is usually a better choice – however if optimal parts life is a priority, nitrogen can be used on mild steel).
Choice of shielding gas plays a role in cutting performance. Water provides the best results for both stainless steel and aluminum. Carbon dioxide also performs well for aluminum cutting, but underperforms water for stainless steel. Air can be used as a shielding gas for nitrogen plasma, but with some compromises in cut quality.
Argon/Hydrogen Plasma with Nitrogen Shield
best choice for thick materials
A mixture of argon and hydrogen – typically 65% argon and 35% hydrogen – will produce the hottest intensity plasma. Argon/Hydrogen is not recommended for use with mild steel, but can provide excellent results on stainless steel and aluminum.
Because of the intensity of the plasma, Argon/Hydrogen is the best choice when material thickness is over 1/2 inch, and arguably the only choice for material thickness over 3 inches.. When used with water injection torches, cutting up to 6 inch thick stainless steel is possible.