For decades, oxyhydrogen torches have been the preferred choice of experts in the engineering industry – particularly when it comes to cutting and welding.
Although industry professionals have recently begun to turn towards oxy-acetylene because of the high-temperature flames that acetylene can produce, oxyhydrogen torches remain a key device around the world.
These self-contained tools boast a huge number of benefits, from offering an easy-to-use cutting solution to minimizing exposure to dangerous gases and residues. But what are they exactly, and how do they work? Read on to find out.
What is an Oxyhydrogen Torch?
Oxyhydrogen torches have a similar function to blowtorches, but they’re designed for industrial applications, which means that they work at far higher temperatures.
An oxyhydrogen torch uses “oxy-fuel.” In other words, the device combines a particular element (in this case, hydrogen) with oxygen to create an intense heat reaction ideal for cutting and welding. Although hydrogen isn’t the only element that can be combined with oxygen to create a cutting implement, it’s one of the oldest and most popular solutions. Like oxygen, hydrogen is one of the most common substances in the world, which makes the device very accessible.
What’s more, because the only byproduct of an oxyhydrogen torch is water, it could be argued that this form of welding is the safest and greenest option. An oxy-fuel torch does not produce any noxious gases that are toxic to workers and the environment, nor does it leave behind a sooty byproduct.
How Does Oxyhydrogen Welding Work?
Similar to an oxy-acetylene torch, an oxyhydrogen torch works by emitting two different elements from separated cylinders in a system.
The device uses intense pressure of up to 200 pounds per square inch to mix and insulate these gases, which creates a very potent flame. The hydrogen aspect of the torch is lit first, while the oxygen is released shortly afterwards. This allows the engineer to adjust the size and heat of the flame according to his or her needs.
In commercial welding applications, it’s possible to use an oxyhydrogen torch that has only one tube, where the gases are combined and pressurized before they reach the end of the device. A torch like this is far less cumbersome, which makes it more appealing to those who frequently turn to oxyhydrogen devices for their work.
When Can You Use an Oxyhydrogen Torch?
Although oxyhydrogen torches have become somewhat less common in the industrial world over the last few years, we still use these devices whenever we need to access a flame that is free from contaminants.
Oxyhydrogen torches are unique in the fact that they do not contribute to the combustion of typical hydrocarbon tools. This means that these devices can be used to polish plexiglass, melt through and remove rust from precious metals, and form laboratory glass without leaving behind any unsightly byproducts.
These devices can also be used for less “niche” operations, as they can cut and weld standard metal pipes and components very efficiently. In some cases, they are even used for crackling and heating stone, loosening corroded components, and cutting through ferrous materials. The best part is, their wireless design makes them much easier to use than their electric counterparts.
Choosing the Right Device
If you’re in need of a clean and portable flame, then oxyhydrogen torches may be the best solution for you. However, it’s worth noting that the flame on these devices is very pale, which means that it can be hard to see in the wrong circumstances. This is why it’s always important to demonstrate caution when cutting or welding with an oxy-fuel torch.