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How to Choose the Right Piping for Acetylene, Oxygen, and Inert Gases?

Acetylene, oxygen, and inert gases are industrial gases, which find applications across industries. Oxygen-acetylene combination produces localized heat, and is widely used for different types of heating applications. Be it acetylene, oxygen, or inert gases, each of these have typical flammability characteristics, which possess challenges to their storage and handling. These gases are stored in gas plants and cylinders and distributed through piping and manifolds. The piping and manifolds feature different components, which are designed to specifications and are made carefully using different materials. The choice of material for piping and manifolds is a rigorous process and it requires several considerations. This post discusses the factors to be considered when building piping for acetylene gas, as well as oxygen and inert gases.

Factors of Consideration for Oxygen, Inert Gas, and Acetylene Manifold Piping Systems

As said before, each gas has typical characteristics which must be addressed while designing piping systems for acetylene, oxygen, and inert gas. The following pointers will give a brief idea of how these gases act and things to be kept in mind while choosing the sizing and materials for pipelines and piping.


  • This is a colorless and odorless gas, which has low moisture.
  • Generating one of the hottest fuel gases, the acetylene flame produces temperature of 315 degree Celsius in combination with oxygen.
  • Acetylene must be contained within pressures up to 15 PSIG. So, extra care must be taken to keep the piping pressure below 15 PSIG.
  • This gas is unstable, and may decompose at high temperature and pressure leading to fire or explosion.
  • The piping for acetylene supplying gas at a pressure higher than 9 PSIG must with fitted with a safety relief valve. This valve must be manufactured and fitted such that the pressure in the system does not go beyond 22 PSIG.
  • This working pressure of the pipeline is decided based on the cubic feet required at the delivery points of the manifold. The valves must be used to avoid mixing of oxygen and acetylene at high temperatures.


  • This is a nonmetallic element that is highly reactive.
  • When selecting a tubing or piping material for gaseous oxygen, the velocity, temperature, and pressure must be taken into consideration.
  • Oxygen is usually used in a temperature range between –22 °F and 400 °F and pressures at 21 MPa (3000 psi).
  • Consider the ignition temperature of material for oxygen piping.
  • The piping used in oxygen piping system design must be cleaned before the use as well as after the set up.

Argon and Nitrogen

  • Argon is a noble gas, which is completely inert. This means it will not react with any substance easily.
  • Argon is an expensive gas and is used in applications such as arc welding where nitrogen may react with the electric arc. It is also considered for applications where low thermal conductivity is needed.
  • Nitrogen is also an unreactive or inert gas and much more affordable than argon.
  • Nitrogen gas is available abundantly, so it is used in several industrial applications.

Going by the descriptions, it is much clear that one needs to take much care when designing acetylene and oxygen piping systems. The acetylene and oxygen pipe sizing calculator takes into consideration the application requirements.

Know About the Materials Used in Inert Gas, Oxygen, and Piping for Acetylene Gas

The use of burn-resistant metals or metal alloys are recommended for piping or manifold piping and pipeline system installation. The following are a few common materials used in oxygen, acetylene, and inert gas piping.

  • Acetylene: Stainless steel and carbon steel are the best choice of material for piping for acetylene gas. It is recommended to choose the pressure gauges and fittings also made of steel. This is because acetylene gas reacts with silver, copper, and mercury to form explosive compounds. Although copper alloys are sometimes chosen as piping for acetylene gas, the copper content is usually kept below 65% to avoid any complications.
  • Oxygen: Copper, nickel-copper alloys, and copper alloys are considered during oxygen piping system design. These materials are hard to ignite, which makes them a popular choice of material for oxygen gas piping and pipelines. Along with copper and copper alloys, stainless steel is also considered. This material exhibits burn resistance based on factors such as oxygen purity, oxygen pressure, equipment configuration, and thickness of metal.
  • Inert Gas: Brass, copper, and stainless steel are a few common materials used for building inert gas piping or manifold piping systems. However, you need to consider the ignition temperature and reaction of each of these materials with the gas before selecting them.

It is always ideal to discuss with an expert before laying pipelines for the transportation of gases. They would be able to help you with the right material after understanding your application requirements. With all these, it is also important to invest in quality systems like acetylene plants or gas manifolds. Rexarc specializes in acetylene plants and cylinders as well as gas manifolds. You can get in touch with the team today to discuss your requirements.



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