Is Argon Flammable? (Can it Catch Fire?)

Argon is a colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas. It is among the strongest elements in our daily lives because it features room temperature, which is why most people don’t have argon littered in their homes.

However, you may encounter argon at work or school, and that might get you wondering if it is a fire hazard or not; thus, the question: is argon flammable?

It might interest you to know that argon is not a flammable gas, and neither is it reactive. In other words, it can hardly ignite since it must react with oxygen or any other oxidizer before it can combust.

Still, it’s not advisable to keep argon close to the fire without risk. We’ll come back to that later!

What Is Argon?

Widely known for its noble gases, argon exists simultaneously as helium, xenon, radon, etc. You might not realize it, but argon is the third most significant gas in the earth’s atmosphere and consists of about 1% of the air. It is also two times as significant as water vapor can be.

Apart from existing in the air, you can also find argon in the earth’s crust, even though it only consists of about 0.00015% of the crust by volume. The term ‘Argon’ is a Greek terminology, which means ‘lazy’ or ‘dormant’, a soothing name, as we’ll find out later.

Argon cannot be necessarily found littered around except if you extract it from the atmosphere and then purify it since it is a gas. You can then store it in pressurized canisters.

Argon is most significantly used during wielding activities, where it serves as a shielding gas, and in a lab, where it provides a unique green light to gas lasers.

Is Argon Flammable?

Fortunately, argon is not flammable since it’s everywhere in the atmosphere and every time. If it is as flammable as other substances, the earth would have been filled with constant natural explosions and fire disasters.

According to OSHA, for any substance, liquid or gas, to be seen as flammable, it must have a flashpoint of around or below 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

So, for example, argon is a gas but can be seen as a liquid because of the above definition. But, the fact remains that argon cannot flame up in the air or even pure oxygen.

Therefore, argon can never be considered flammable, which is a good reason it is mainly used for shielding in wielding activities. It doesn’t matter how hot things become; they will hardly combust.

Why Is Argon Considered Non-Flammable?

It is not mysterious. You can consider its electrochemistry to be the reason behind its non-flammability. When the burning activity is going on, oxidation occurs.

This shows that electrons leave the oxygen atoms and complete the electronic shell of any element or substance the oxygen comes in contact with.

As long as argon is concerned, it already possesses a complete electronic shell. It has about 8 electrons in its external shell and has no space for additional electrons.

In other words, in several cases like this, you will have to compel argon to react with any element, and it has few compounds.

Most argon compounds are presently theoretical and assumed to be present in the air or have been discovered through sophisticated techniques.

Can Argon Explode?

Although this question might sound a little weird, we just finished discussing that argon will hardly react, so why will it explode when it’s not even combustible? However, it can explode, but its explosion is not because it is reactive but rather because it is a gas.

Whenever you store gas in a canister and place it close to a heated element, the gas tends to expand, but the canister, made of a sturdier material, would hardly develop at the same level. With time, the gas will expand so that the canister will be too small to house the gas.

When this happens, the canister breaks and explodes. In other words, even though you shouldn’t worry about argon’s flammability, you should avoid keeping its canisters around open flames or in areas that run the risk of fire outbreaks.

Does Argon Melt?

Argon can only be a solid element when it is under the coolest temperatures. Does it melt? Yes, it does melt when its temperature is about -301.81 degrees Fahrenheit or -189.34 degrees Celsius.

Therefore, aside from the specialist laboratory environments, solid or liquid argon can hardly be found anywhere.

Does Argon Boil?

Argon can only boil at its lowest temperature of about -302.526 degrees Fahrenheit and -185.848 degrees Celsius.

However, it has almost the same melting and boiling points that if you don’t control its temperature, it could sublimate, i.e., it could go from a solid state to a gaseous state instead of melting and then boiling.

Does Argon Change Voice and Why?

Yes, argon can change the voice. It originates from a similar gas family as helium, and it’s clear that if you inhale argon, your voice will start producing a squeaky sound like Donald Duck, but a little higher pitched. Argon will also affect your voice but in a bit different way.

The voice change you will experience whenever you breathe in helium is mainly seen as the resultant effect of the gas in your vocal cords. It is, however, incorrect for two reasons; there is nothing like vocal cords but a vocal fold. The second reason is that helium does not affect the vocal fold.

Helium molecules in your system are significantly quicker, as they are very lighter than the oxygen molecules you naturally inhale.

This enhances the more rapid movement of sound via your vocal system (maybe three times quicker, depending on the pure state of your helium), and it is through this speed that the pitch of your voice changes.

However, argon is heavier than helium and the air that you often inhale. Therefore, as much as it changes your voice, it lowers it instead of enhancing it. So you can expect to sound like a bullfrog instead of Donald Duck.

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