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ESAB Knowledge center.

Plasma Cutting - Recommended Gases

Compressed Air is the most commonly used gas for lower current plasma cutting and works well for most metals from gauge thickness to 1 inch. It leaves an oxidized cut surface.Compressed air can also be used for plasma gouging on carbon steel.

Nitrogen is often used for higher current plasma systems and for cutting materials up to 3 inches thick. It produces excellent quality cuts on most materials.

Oxygen is used when the highest quality mechanized cuts are desired on carbon steel up to 1 -1/4 inch thick. The cut face is smooth, and dross is easy to remove. Oxygen can also be used on stainless steel and aluminum, but it produces a rougher cut face.

Argon-Hydrogen Mixtures are generally used for cutting stainless steel and aluminum. They produce a clean, high quality cut face. Argon-Hydrogen is required for mechanized cutting of any material more than 3 inches thick. This mixture also provides an excellent gas for plasma gouging on all materials.

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