Can welding Oxygen be used in place of medical oxygen?

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Is there any difference between a tank of welding oxygen vs medical oxygen as far as purity, concentration, hazardous impurities, etc, that would render welding oxygen insufficient (or even dangerous) for helping to supplement breathing / respiration ?
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On 6/18/2010 9:58 PM, Some Guy wrote:

Nope, they are the same. I see the paramedics at the welding supply store all the time, getting their bottles filled from the same rack mine are.
MikeB
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BQ340 wrote:

And just to be clear -
Welding oxygen is more (way more) than just compressed "air". And what I mean by "air" is the stuff that's all around us right now.
Yes?
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To be precise it is way less. The air we breath is roughly twenty percent oxygen. Medical oxygen is nearly one hundred percent oxygen. The inert components of air are removed from the compressed oxygen that is used for patient breathing assistance and making ordinary metals burn and melt together into a single piece of metal. -- Tom Horne
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Tom Horne wrote:

And what I meant by "way more" was that welding oxygen has a higher oxygen content (or oxygen concentration) vs ordinary air. So I don't know why you'd say it's "way less".

And likewise for welding oxygen - yes?
Harry K wrote:

From what I've been reading tonight, ALL forms of compressed oxygen (Aviation, Medical, Welding) come from the SAME source (a tank of Liquid Oxygen - LOX) and are transfered to variously labelled tanks and charged various prices based on the label on the tank.
My guess is that the price differential is caused by liability insurance and the need to recoup that cost based on the end-use of the gas. The insurance industry might perceive that aviation oxygen (as a product) carries the highest risk to the producer / seller, with medical oxygen less risky, and welding oxygen the lowest risk. Risk in this context means what sort of incident could happen if the wrong gas is accidentially sold to the end user, or could happen if the tank fails.
The humidity of compressed oxygen seems to be a red herring. In medical situations such as the hospital bedside, oxygen supply lines are passed through a bubbler or some other humidification device to add humidity to the air. This is a stationary situation where the person is likely to be on the air supply for an extended period, and humidification is done more for comfort or to prevent airway irritation than anything else. In other medical situations (EMS O2 respirator tanks) the air is dry - because it simply can't supply O2 for an extended period anyways.
And you don't want to get water in your high-pressure tanks anyways - if only so they don't rust.
Aviation air also can't contain a lot of humidity because (or so the story goes) the water could freeze at high altitudes and mess up the supply and metering lines.
So the bottom line is that if you walk into a welding supply store to buy an oxygen tank, don't let on that you intend to use it to fill your plane's on-board tank, or you want to make an oxygen tent for your sick pet. The guy behind the counter will most likely go ape-shit and either deny your purchase, or force you to buy the more expensive tank - probably because their insurance company forces them to do that.
The insurance industry plays a far larger role behind the scenes in our daily lives than we realize. The products we can buy, the services we use, the way they are delivered or sold to us, etc, exist because the manufacterers, retails or providers have reached a stable (perhaps even strained) coexistance with the insurance industry.
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FWIW, all oxygen is too dry for extended period use. That is why they run it through the little bottle thingy first in medical uses. Also, if you believe in eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6370762_medical-vs_-welding-oxygen.html Another aside, so although O2 USP has the same basic source as industrial gases, it's specified., handled, distributed and tracked differently. O2 USP has FDA mandated lot numbers to facilitate product recalls. These lot numbers are tracked all the way to the patient.

Which means that the Plaintiff lawyers play a far larger role, since most of the insurance company's concerns has to do with keeping the PL out of their pocket.
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Some Guy wrote:

Seems like my dad had a machine that created (or condensed) oxygen from the air for him to breath. No bottles to change. Why can't they do that for welding?
--
LSMFT

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Oxygen concentrators remove the nitrogen and leave you with about 93% oxygen. It has no pressure though, and it would still have to be pressurized to about 10 psi to work for welding. Probably not impossible, just not practical.
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Though real popular with folks who melt glass with smallish torches- a 20pound LP tank and an O2 concentrator is a real popular setup.
Went to find a link for details and found this site- http://www.sundanceglass.com/oxygen-concentrator.htm
I guess you can get one for large torches now-- advertised up to 20psi & 15LPM. [and up to $3500]
I noticed my m-i-l has an attachment on her [medical] O2 that lets her fill a small tank. I don't know what the pressure is-- and I also see that she still rents the big tanks, so it can't be too efficient.
Jim
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I imagine because it can't supply oxygen at the rate required for welding.
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On 6/19/2010 8:19 AM, LSMFT wrote:

I see a lot of people getting these machines:
http://www.vitalitymedical.com/Catalog/Home-Oxygen-Concentrators-1163-.html
I would imagine there are concentrators available for welding.
As for original question, industrial oxygen should be suitable for breathing. All compressed oxygen must be free of impurities like oil because of potential for explosion.
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LSMFT wrote:

Large scale O2 generation involves cooling air to liquify it, then pulling off the components: Oxygen, Nitrogen, CO2, Argon, etc.
You CAN get Oxygen by electrolysis of water (plus Hydrogen), but the energy expenditure is horrendous.
Certainly O2 generators can be powered by chemical means; the Oxygen masks on airliners rely on chemical release of O2 by the burning of chlorates or perchlorates.
All that said, you can get O2 generators for small applications (bedside, veterinary, etc.) use, up to, and including, institutional generation, say, for hospitals.
To answer your question directly: Bottled O2 is far cheaper than the alternatives.
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On 6/19/2010 8:52 AM, HeyBub wrote:

The concentrators work by reverse osmosis. You can travel with them and use rechargeable batteries. If you are home, immobile, the medical supplier will often give you liquid and tubing is strung around the house. For short trips of a few hours, you can take liquid. You hire a supplier and it is up to him to satisfy all your requirements, tank, liquid or concentrator.
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HeyBub wrote:

The question was not if bottled O2 is cheaper than the alternatives.
The question was - are all forms or labels of bottled O2 essentially equivalent.
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On 6/19/2010 7:19 AM, LSMFT wrote:

they can and do. Most Midas muffler shops make (concentrate) their own o2 for the oxy/acy setup.
--
Steve Barker
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On 6/19/2010 8:19 AM, LSMFT wrote:

They do and they aren't an unusual thing at all to find in a low-medium usage shop.
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Some Guy wrote:

...
...
The bottom line is how confident do you want to be that what comes out of that refilled tank is, indeed, fit for breathing purposes and hasn't been contaminated since that point?
The scenario in the posting link later of a single large bottle refilling known smaller ones is reasonably well controlled; just taking the next random welding bottle returned from who knows where...errr, not so much. As someone else pointed out, you don't know what was done with those bottles previously nor what has been done since w/o the certification--that's the role it plays.
As for cost; it's a lot like the "N-stamp" nuclear-grade components--many of them are, in fact, identical to their non-graded cousins but they've been through the qualifications to prove their pedigree; the poor red-headed stepchild _may_ be just as good but doesn't have the papers to prove it.
--

--

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dpb wrote:

I presume that the first time that any brand-new O2 bottle is filled with it's first batch of O2, that it has been cleaned and vacuum evacuated first.
After that point, unless the air pressure in that tank ever falls below ambient atmospheric pressure, it's hard to see how anything other than pure O2 could ever re-enter it - even if it was ever connected to a manifold system where other bottles of similarly-clean O2 are also connected.

I understand that I can buy, or rent, oxy-acetelene tanks. If I buy, I'm not sure if I can have my bought-tank re-filled and returned to me, or if I simply exchange it for filled (but used) tank.
If I buy a brand new tank, and if I keep refilling that same tank when I need more, then I am removing the uncertainty of what could have been in the tank before it was filled.
And when it comes to refilling returned tanks, is it normal practice to at least let the tank fully depressurize itself before it's refilled? Wouldn't that dillute any potential non-oxygen gas or even particulate contaminent that it *may* have once the tank has been refilled with known-pure O2?
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it's "way less" because for a given volume of gas,you get only ONE element;oxygen,while "air" also gives you nitrogen,argon,helium,krypton,xenon. Not that they have any benefit,but it's "more" than what you get with pure O2. ;-)
--
Jim Yanik
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They *can* be the same depending on the store. Welding grade isn't safe for medical use. Stores often stock only medical grade instead of maintaining multiple grades.
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