Argon 4.6 – The protective gas for professionals
The Argon 4.6 shielding gas is a welding gas with a purity of 99.996 %. This is due to the 4.6 purity. The composition has a minimum impurity level of 40 ppm and thus consists of almost 100% argon and therefore contains neither helium, nor oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen or nitrogen.
Argon itself, with the chemical abbreviation Ar, belongs to the odourless and colourless noble gases and is used – in addition to cutting – also in welding. In any case, it is one of the most abundant noble gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
Argon 4.6 for highest reliability in arc welding
For professional welding, this means that the arc of light remains calm and stable throughout the entire welding process. (For this reason I cannot recommend CO2 from the beverage industry! More about this here).
It should be noted, however, that Argon 4.6 is not suitable for MAG welding, i.e. for metal active shielded arc welding, which is usually used in the processing of alloyed and unalloyed steels.
However, it can also be used for the machining of materials made of aluminium or other non-ferrous metals. Argon 4.6 is primarily used for welding work on high-alloy steel materials. This refers to metal inert gas welding, the so-called MIG process known from materials science.
During welding, the gas serves as oxidation protection for the liquid metal, which has a positive effect on strength. In comparison with helium, argon is the more economical option when it comes to selecting a suitable and favourable MIG filler material for the arc welding process.
Argon 4,6 vs. Argon 5,0
If you are now faced with the choice between the Argon 4.6 or the Argon 5.0, they differ in the main feature of the degree of purity, which is illustrated by the designation.
The degree of purity you as a user decide on therefore depends on the individual field of application of the protective gas and the workpiece. As already mentioned, Argon 4.6 is a shielding gas intended for welding and cutting.
In contrast, Argon 5.0, which is higher in purity, is mainly used in industry. There it is used for the production of semiconductors. Furthermore, it is used as an operating gas for laboratory equipment and also for arc welding processes or so-called plasma welding and cutting.
Argon 4.6 differs from Argon 5.0 in purity and therefore also in price. A small overview of the differences relevant for welding can be found on our site. In principle, both Argon 4.6 and Argon 5.0 can be selected for welding work.
However, you should note that you are welding special metals such as titanium, niobium or zirconium with the higher quality Argon 5.0 shielding gas. For hobbyists, the choice of Argon 4.6 for welding steel and stainless steel is perfectly acceptable. You should therefore not only keep an eye on the costs.
Keep in mind that there is an enormous difference in quality between Argon 4.6 and Argon 5.0. The layman may think that this is only slightly pronounced due to the marking of 4.6 and 5.0.
However, this is not the case.
The difference in terms of purity is over 50%. The impurity level for argon 4.6 is about 40 ppm. With the Argon 5.0 between 0 ppm and 10 ppm. You should take these extremely relevant factors into account when choosing your Argon shielding gas.