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What is plasma cutting technology?

Date:2014-10-07

What is plasma cutting technology?

In simplest terms, plasma cutting is a process that uses a high velocity jet of ionized gas that is delivered from a constricting

orifice. The high velocity ionized gas,that is, the plasma, conducts electricity from the torch of the plasma cutter to the work

piece. The plasma heats the workpiece, melting the material. The high velocity stream of ionized gas mechanically blows the

molten metal away, severing the material.

How does plasma cutting compare to oxyfuel cutting?

Plasma cutting can be performed on any type of conductive metal - mild steel, aluminum and stainless are some examples.

With mild steel, operators will experience faster, thicker cuts than with alloys.

Oxyfuel cuts by burning, or oxidizing, the metal it is severing. It is therefore limited to steel and other ferrous metals which

support the oxidizing process. Metals like aluminum and stainless steel form an oxide that inhibits further oxidization,

making conventional oxyfuel cutting impossible. Plasma cutting, however, does not rely on oxidation to work, and thus it

can cut aluminum, stainless and any other conductive material.While different gasses can be used for plasma cutting, most

people today use compressed air for the plasma gas. In most shops, compressed air is readily available,and thus plasma

does not require fuel gas and compressed oxygen for operation.Plasma cutting is typically easier for the novice to master,

and on thinner materials, plasma cutting is much faster than oxyfuel cutting. However, for heavy sections of steel (1 inch

and greater),oxyfuel is still preferred since oxyfuel is typically faster and, for heavier plate applications, very high capacity

power supplies are required for plasma cutting applications.

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