How to Select the Best Fuel for Fuel Gas Torches
When preparing to join copper tube and fittings for soldering or brazing it is important to also consider the type of fuel gas along with the joining materials, thickness of metals to be joined, operating pressure and torch equipment. For commercially available torch tool products, the most common fuels are Acetylene, Propane (LPG), MAPP and MAP-Pro. For torches with the designation of LP, LPG, LP Gas, Propane, MAPP or MAP-Pro such as Turbo Torch by Thermadyne and other like torches; these models will work with all of these fuels as long as the cylinder, hose attachment hardware or gas pressure perimeters are met. These fuels are odorized as a safety measure to detect leaks and other hazardous conditions. Acetylene Fuel Gas should not be used with these torches, only those designated for use with acetylene.
Fuel Types for Fuel Gas Torches
MAPP - MAPP
gas is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) mixed with methylacetylene-propadiene. MAPP is a trade name. It has a considerable advantage over competing propane fuels due to its higher combustion temperature. Some temperatures can be reached when the joining process required brazing. A suspension of manufacturing operations was announced in February 2008. This product has limited supplies in the United States.
Map-Pro - MAP-Pro
has a higher flame temperature and better combustion intensity than propane; Worthington Cylinders, the manufacture, defines the ingredients as propylene and traces of propane. MAP-Pro® gas is an alternative to MAPP Gas. MAP-Pro Gas contains propylene, a colorless liquid, that rapidly turns into a gas at standard atmospheric temperatures and pressure. Propylene has a slight hydrocarbon odor. In commerce propylene is packaged as a liquefied gas under pressure.
Propane (LPG) - LP, LPG, LP Gas, and Propane
are basically the same product when designated by the torch manufacturer. Suppliers of these fuels for the most part define the ingredients are made up of 85 to 100 % Propane with occasional traces of Propylene, Butane, Ethane and EthylMercaptan (ordorant). Propane (LPG), MAPP (Methyl Acetylene and Propadiene) and Map Pro (Propylene): Can be used for joining medium to small copper with soft solders with melting temperatures below 800°F. Concentrated flame and atmospheric air delivers 1750° F to 2400°F heat. Most all torch manufactures allow their equipment to interchange with these fuels, but never Acetylene. These fuels and their various small and large cylinders allow direct mounting to torches or with related hose attachment accessories. Most plumbing retail outlets provide 14oz. to 16oz. cylinders with CGA-600 connections. Experience and equipment selection will allow higher temperatures needed for brazing procedures above 800°F.
Acetylene - Acetylene
is a specially designed gas that is used as a fuel for different torches. Acetylene can be used in one of two methods: in a single bottle that is mixed with air to produce high levels of heat, and the other design is known as an oxy-fuel. This method, generally used for cutting and welding, needs two tanks one with pure oxygen and the other with acetylene; which is essential to produce high intensity heat needed for such jobs. Torches of this design can be used for many applications including soldering, heating, thawing, and melting. Acetylene is typically not available at retail outlets and must be purchased from specialty suppliers such as welding suppliers. All components that manage Acetylene such as the cylinder, hose attachment hardware, gas pressure regulators, torch assembly or torch tips should be designated for use with Acetylene.
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