View Full Version : Argon...
08-27-2008, 07:13 PM
Did some welding on some small mild steel ''moles'' (get sent down a tube or something) this week. Never really had a problem, but then again never really done such fiddly bits.
Problem I had was i had to weld sort of towards my face so to speak, obviously had my mask on. After welding for a while ended up with a really bad chest from the Argon, breathing was difficult, coughing my guts up etc. etc. Left it for a while, went back to it nearly finished the job and got up to get some more filler wire. HAd the same problem again but worse, felt sick. Had been warned about this like.
Is there anyway to clear the symptoms quickly? For one its very unpleasant, and 2 when you have a rush job and people on your back to get it done, having to stop from breathing too much argon doesn't help.
08-28-2008, 03:36 PM
This link has some info about Argon
08-28-2008, 03:37 PM
I don't think there is any quick remedy.
May be time to invest in a ventilation system
08-28-2008, 04:12 PM
That doesn't sound like argon.
Too much argon isn't harmful, BUT too little oxygen is. If you're in an environment where there is so much argon that it is displacing oxygen, you can get asphyxiated, but argon in and of itself is not toxic. Lack of oxygen causes drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, sensory issues, and unconsciousness.
CO2 can be toxic at elevated levels (but has neurological symptoms first). Are you using an argon/CO2 mix? CO2 causes similar symptoms to lack of oxygen, BUT it happens at MUCH lower concentrations, without displacing nearly as much oxygen.
Could the parts you are working on (or the filler) be galvanized, or contain something nasty?
Did you see any form of smoke while welding (or a condensed smoke deposit on the metal)?
All I can say, is that for breathing to become difficult, you would have to use MASSIVE amounts of argon, in a relatively small and unventilated space.
08-28-2008, 04:38 PM
Was just welding 3mm mild steel, scale removed, with CCMS filler rod. I was thinking bacause i was welding towards myself the argon found its way behind my welding mask. So therefore im breathing argon not air/oxygen. I'll have a read of that link now :)
08-28-2008, 08:05 PM
As stated above, Argon is inert and won't affect you so long as you get enough oxygen. You might have what is called 'fume fever' which is caused by fumes from the metals you're welding. Zinc (usually the oxide) is a common cause, and I think cadmium and magnesium also can be.
When working with nickel-bearing alloys, any carbon monoxide produced can react with the nickel to form Nickel carbonyl, a highly toxic gas (which is used in the Mond process for purifying the metal).
I think that drinking whole milk and eating egg whites (cooked?) are remedies for fume fever; you can probably find much more on the internet.
08-29-2008, 11:10 AM
Argon is denser than air. It's not going to float up from the weld surface to your breathing zone, it has to displace the air from the ground up- in confined spaces it's a very real danger but not normally
Radiation from the arc generates ozone (http://www.ozoneapplications.com/info/ozone_msds.htm) which is a more likely candidate for your symptoms imo although still unusual given the amperages used for 3mm carbon steel- it's generally more noticeable (smell) at higher amperages, especially with reflective metals- aluminium for example
08-31-2008, 10:29 AM
No idea then, was a very unpleasant experience, and was unfortunate enough to have it twice. It seemed strange because i'd done many hours welding before that and never ever experienced that :confused:
08-31-2008, 10:31 PM
The argon can deprive you of some oxygen but the real problem is that when argon strikes ultraviolet light it makes a 6 inch cloud of ozone in the weld area.
Ozone is O 3. a respitory irritant and it mkes you sleepy, and when levels are high it will make you start sneezing.
You can get a paper mask just for ozone.
Orange button on the front.
Get more fresh air in your work area.
09-01-2008, 08:10 AM
i heard drinking milk will offset damage or discomfort caused by aluminum mig fumes..
09-01-2008, 12:26 PM
Donald et al,
UV plus argon just makes ionized argon, most of the time and for the most part.
But UV and/or an electric arc plus oxygen can make ozone. Oxygen is O2, ozone is O3.
Ozone has a distinct smell, sort of faintly like garlic. Electric arcs (welding, lightning, commutator sparks in an electric motor, etc) are some common 'makers' of ozone.
Also, a paper dust/particulate mask does nothing to absorb ozone. Some activated carbon masks will be effective at absorbing ozone.
Always check the label and make sure the mask/filter you use is rated as effective against the hazards you are being exposed to!
3M makes a disposable mask (8214/8514/07187 Respirator N95 Particulate) that they list as "recommended for welding on stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, and other applications where ozone and nuisance organic vapors* may be present", the * refers to the limitation that the mask is not NIOSH rated for ozone/etc protection and the mask is only recommended as protection against "nuisance" levels of substances and not against levels exceeding 10x the PEL.
To the Kyle in the UK, it wasn't the argon that make you feel ill. It was something else in the welding fumes, like ozone or vaporized metal (of various sorts) or etc.
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