Oxygen gas is widely used for combustion and oxidation in welding. Many welders often ask, can we use medical oxygen for welding?

The answer is “Yes, you can use medical oxygen for welding”, but medical oxygen is made for human healthcare. So, it is not recommended to use in welding.

In this guide, we will talk about why oxygen is used in welding, whether medical oxygen is used in welding and the difference between medical and welding oxygen. If you need clarification about the uses of oxygen for welding, stay reading!

can you weld with medical oxygen
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Can you use medical oxygen in welding?

Before the controversy, it is good to know that medical oxygen is considered pure oxygen & we know pure oxygen is required for welding. In welding, acetylene and pure oxygen combination boost the flame temperature to melt metal. Therefore, you can use medical oxygen in welding because it is 99.99% pure. Oxygen is used for increasing the flame, for joining and cutting the workpiece’s metal.

There are some crucial conveniences of medical oxygen for welding. Let’s know these.

1. Purity and Impurities

Medical oxygen is highly purified because it is made for human health. Therefore, it contains no harmful ingredients that would harm humans when used for cutting and welding.

2. Availability

In some cases, medical oxygen is available within less price than industrial oxygen. You can also use medical oxygen if welding oxygen is unavailable during your emergency welding needs.

3. Precise Flow Control

Medical oxygen is made with specific flow control so that the patient can fill their demand. Specific flow control is essential for some welding metals. You can use medical oxygen for welding when you do not have another option. But it is not recommended for welding jobs.

Why is oxygen used in welding?

Pure oxygen combined with Ethyne is used to increase the temperature of the flame. As a result, the welding electrodes and workpieces melt easily to make the welding joint strong.

We know oxygen doesn’t burn itself. But oxygen and acetylene can produce high (~3100 degrees Celsius) temperature. Without oxygen, acetylene can’t produce this heat. Besides, burnt oxygen-acetylene mix cleans the welding surface.

What are the differences between medical and welding oxygen?

  • Purity Grade

One of the core differences between medical and welding oxygen is their purity grade. Where medical oxygen contains 99.5% oxygen, welding oxygen contains 99.2%. This purity grade stands for quality.

  • Uses

Medical oxygen can be used in welding, but welding oxygen can’t be used for human breathing. The main reason is that medical oxygen is purer than welding oxygen. There is no risk if you use pure oxygen in welding. On the other hand, welding oxygen contains impurities that can be life-threatening for humans.

  • Regulatory standard

From production to distribution, medical oxygen is under strict control of health authorities. On the contrary, welding oxygen is made with industry regulation. But there are no strict authority regulations and inspections like medical oxygen.

  • Maintenance and storage

The utmost precautions are important for maintaining and storing medical oxygen to ensure that it is safe for human health.

Although welding oxygen should be considered for maintenance and storage, the level of maintenance could be more secure, like medical oxygen.

  • Legal consideration

Using medical oxygen for welding is not legal in all states. Even sometimes, impure oxygen in welding can cause serious damage or explosion. On the other hand, welding oxygen is strictly prohibited for use in the welding process.

Is there any danger in using medical oxygen in welding?

There are some potential risks of using medical oxygen for welding. It can cause inappropriate combustibility, fire hazards, contamination and rapid combustion. Besides, medical oxygen might be responsible for welding equipment damage.

Moreover, some regulatory restrictions exist for using medical oxygen in industrial welding. So, be conscious about safety if you use medical oxygen in welding.

Final Words

We hope you understand whether medical oxygen can be used for welding. Medical oxygen is dedicated to pure gas to boost human breathing. Although you can use medical oxygen for welding, it is not the best practice. Medical oxygen for welding has some pros and cons. But overall, you should not use it for welding purposes except for any emergency.

Maidul Islam

I am Maidul Shakil and am a welder for more that 6 years. Welding metals and joining them is my hobby and passion. I have learnt all welding techniques, safety issues, fabrication process and rigging from SUNY Westchester Community College . I am now trying to teach beginners about welding to encourage them to come to the field.

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