Zeroing In on High-Purity Gases for Northern Illinois Laser Welding


Lasers were hypothesized originally by none other than Albert Einstein at the dawn of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that lasers were applied to solder lead in electronic component circuit boards. And it wasn’t until 2002 that CO2 lasers were applied to weld polymers. Nowadays, Weldstar Specialty Gases, one of over 150 PurityPlus® Partners at 600 locations coast to coast, is proud to be a trusted Northern Illinois producer of the high-purity specialty gases so critical to the gas laser welding process. Our main customers are considerably automated high-volume manufacturers. Those engaged in the automotive industry are perhaps the most visible cases in point.

A few gas laser basics:

  • Resonator gases are most often a mixture of helium (He), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2). The active gas that in point of fact produces the laser light itself – infrared radiation – is CO2.
  • Shielding gases keep the weld area free of oxygen and water vapor, which helps hike the speed and quality of the welding process. Argon is the more familiar shielding gas. It tends to be mixed with helium, oxygen, or carbon dioxide, which markedly improves its plasma suppression properties.
  • As a resonator gas, ultra-high-purity (99.999%) PurityPlus® helium offers extremely high thermal conductivity, the better to conduct heat away from the electric discharge. This makes it an excellent choice for really high-powered laser welding.
  • PurityPlus® carbon dioxide, while frequently used on its own to operate CO2 lasers, is better intermixed with helium and nitrogen so as to achieve the very high laser powers needed for laser cutting and welding.
  • PurityPlus® nitrogen, especially as an intermediary with CO2, is also helpful in obtaining very high laser powers.
  • PurityPlus® argon, an inert gas and thus superb as a shielding gas in laser welding, affords total protection against ambient air. Given that it normally assists in plasma generation, it should not be used for laser powers above 3 kW.

Whatever your singular laser welding application here in Northern Illinois, you can rest easy knowing we offer the PurityPlus® specialty gases with the certified high- or ultra-high purity necessary to carry it out. Contact Weldstar Specialty Gases today.