Oxyfuel cutting severs steel when the fuel gas and Oxygen are mixed, creating a rapid temperature increase capable of melting and washing away steel. Now, you may be asking, “Which ‘fuel gas’ is used?” and the answer to that question is lengthy. Today, we’ll give you the top choices used and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.
Acetylene has been used for cutting for over 100 years, and, when combined with the right amount of Oxygen, has the highest flame temperature. However, it has a low secondary flame temperature, which means the gas requires more preheat time than other gases. Acetylene can also be very dangerous if used incorrectly. It is the second most dangerous gas in the industry, other than Oxygen.
Propylene has become the most preferred gas in recent years, but has been in use since the 1970s. It also has a high heat release in both the secondary and primary flame. When compared to acetylene, propylene will last five times longer, and is a very stable gas to work with.
Propane is often used in non-industrial settings, such as automotive fuel, home heat, cooking stoves and gas grills. It has a slight tendency to backfire, and the products of the burning process are water vapor and carbon dioxide.
These three gases are just the basics when it comes to picking the correct gas for Oxyfuel cutting. You can read more about your options on The Fabricator.