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Liquid Argon

Liquid argon is tasteless, colorless, odorless, non-corrosive, nonflammable, and extremely cold. Belonging to the family of rare inert gases, argon is the most plentiful of the rare gases, making up approximately 1% of the earth’s atmosphere. It is monatomic and extremely inert, forming no known chemical compounds. Special materials of construction are not required to prevent corrosion. However, materials of construction must be selected to withstand the low temperature of liquid argon.

Although used more commonly in the gaseous state, argon is commonly stored and transported as a liquid, affording a more cost effective way of providing product supply. When argon is converted to liquid form it becomes a cryogenic liquid. Cryogenic liquids are liquefied gases that have a normal boiling point below -238°F (-150°C). Liquid argon has a boiling point of -302.6°F (-185.9°C).

Keeping this surrounding heat from the product requires special equipment to store and handle cryogenic liquids. A typical system consists of the following components: a cryogenic storage tank, one or more vaporizers, a pressure control system, and all of the piping required for fill, vaporization, and supply. The cryogenic tank is constructed like a vacuum bottle. It is designed to keep heat away from the liquid that is contained in the inner vessel. Vaporizers convert the liquid argon to its gaseous state. A pressure control manifold controls the pressure at which the gas is fed to the process.


  • Molecular Weight: 39.95
  • Boiling Point @ 1 atm: -302.6°F (-185.9°C, 87oK)
  • Freezing Point @ 1 atm: -308.8°F (-189.4°C, 85oK )
  • Critical Temperature: -188.4°F (-122.4°C)
  • Critical Pressure: 705.8 psia (48.0 atm)
  • Density, Liquid @ BP, 1 atm: 87.40 lb/scf
  • Density, Gas @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm: 0.1034 lb/scf
  • Specific Gravity, Gas (air=1) @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm: 1.38
  • Specific Gravity, Liquid (water=1) @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm: 1.40
  • Specific Volume @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm: 9.67 scf/lb
  • Latent Heat of Vaporization: 2804 BTU/lb mole


Liquid argon is stored, shipped, and handled in several types of containers, depending upon the quantity required by the user. The types of containers in use are the Dewar, cryogenic liquid cylinder, and cryogenic storage tank. Storage quantities vary from a few liters to many thousands of gallons. Since heat leak is always present, vaporization takes place continuously. Rates of vaporization vary depending on the design of the container and the volume of stored product. Containers are designed and manufactured according to the applicable codes and specifications for the temperatures and pressures involved.

Liquid product is typically removed through insulated withdrawal lines to minimize the loss of liquid product to gas. Insulated flexible or rigid lines are used to withdraw product from storage tanks. Connections on the lines and tanks vary by manufacturer.

Cryogenic Liquid Cylinders

The image below shows a typical cryogenic liquid cylinder. Cryogenic liquid cylinders are insulated, vacuum-jacketed pressure vessels. They come equipped with safety relief valves and rupture disks.

Liquid Argon Storage Tank at BatamLiquid Argon Storage Tank at Batam
Liquid Argon Cryogenic Tank at BatamLiquid Argon Cryogenic Tank at Batam