Can you breathe in argon?
If we put humans on planets with atmospheres different from Earth's atmosphere, but still containing oxygen, would humans be able to breathe? From Wikipedia: By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.
Oxygen in the air and cause suffocation with symptoms of headache, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, tremors, loss of coordination and judgment, and lightheadedness. Higher levels can cause nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness, coma and death. No occupational exposure limits have been established for Argon.
- Health effects of argon. Routes of exposure: The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation. Inhalation: This gas is inert and is classified as a simple asphyxiant. Inhalation in excessive concentrations can result in dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and death.
- But it is a simple asphyxiant, so in ceratin cases a release of a large volume of argon can pose a hazard of asphyxiation. Argon is neither flammable nor reactive. If a tank of argon is heated or punctured, the tank may rupture and cause physical injury. Argon is a colorless, odorless gas.
- Argon is the third of the noble gases or inert gases. It is very non-reactive. So much so, that it forms compounds with virtually no other elements. It is non-reactive because the shells are full.
As the pit fills with argon, the air is pushed out. Thus, no oxygen remains to support life! Too many people believe argon to be a safe, inert gas, and do not take into consideration that it is heavier than air, and thus can be a danger to them when working in their shops.
- A SIMPLE ASPHYXIANT does not allow oxygen to be transferred to the cells. Examples are: Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, and nitrogen. A CHEMICAL ASPHYXIANT prevents the uptake of oxygen by the cells. Examples are: Carbon Monoxide - prevents oxygen transport by combining with hemoglobin developing carboxy hemoglobin.
- Comments. Chemical asphyxiants include hydrogen cyanide (HCN), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and carbon monoxide (CO). HCN and H2S combine with enzymes to disrupt respiration at the cellular level, while CO binds with hemoglobin to block the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
- Another term, 'simple' asphyxia, is sometimes used when oxygen is displaced by another gas. When water or another liquid fills the lungs causing asphyxia, this is called drowning. Another cause, inhaled fluid, displaces the oxygen during drowning. Thus, drowning is a form of suffocation.
Although argon is non-toxic, it is 38% denser than air and therefore considered a dangerous asphyxiant in closed areas. It is difficult to detect because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
- Argon is the third most prevalent gas in the Earth's atmosphere, found at 9,300 parts per million. It makes up 1.28% of the Earth's atmosphere. It was the first noble gas to be discovered. Argon is a colorless, odorless, and non-toxic material in all three of its states.
- Argon is perticularly important for the metal industry, being used as an inert gas shield in arc welding and cutting. Other uses incude non-reactive blanket in the manufacture of titanium and other reactive elements and as a protective atmosphere for growing silicon and germanium crystals.
- Used in light bulbs. The very thin metal filament inside the bulb would react with oxygen and burn away if the bulb were filled with air instead of argon. Argon stops the filament burning away because it is unreactive.
Updated: 12th October 2018