Specialty gases have become critical components for nearly every industry, including chemicals, biotechnology, materials processing, environmental, foods, semiconductors, and medical. Defining the term “specialty gas” seems simple at first. But after considering the numerous ways specialty gases might differ from their commodity counterparts, it becomes tempting to apply the aphorism “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Specialty Gases

1. What is the cost of the gas?

2. What is the quality of the product? If you depend on the gas to do your job and to provide the best possible results, quality is extremely important. For gases, “quality” means some desirable combination of purity and mixture accuracy.

3. What grade of gas do you need for your applications? Which impurities will adversely affect your application?

4. What are your tolerance requirements? How quickly will you need the product? Gas mixtures can take two weeks or longer to manufacture, analyze and ship to the customer.

5. What kind of service and support does the company offer? How knowledgeable are they in the latest gas analysis and blending techniques? Top gas providers offer cylinder tracking, hazardous material response, specialty gas equipment, safety products, and assistance in designing laboratories and custom gas management systems.

Three Fast Facts on Specialty Gases

• The definition of a “specialty gas” is a tricky thing. One expert defines such a gas as: “any gas that’s tested for purity after the cylinder is filled.” That can include pure gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, or custom gas blends.

• All major gas manufacturers provide specialty pure gases in several grades, ranging from high purity (99.998% min. purity) to ultra-high purity (99.999% min. purity) to research grade (99.9999% min. purity). Each grade is tested for a defined set of impurities, such as levels of oxygen, moisture, total hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and others.

• Specialties are distributed under an unusual economic model: Customers purchase the gas and rent the container (usually a steel or aluminum highpressure cylinder fitted with a heavy-duty valve). Depending on the size of the container and the type of gas, the product costs can run from $100 to as much as $3,000.


Recently Released Specialty Gases & Accessories

Air Check O2 Monitor
• Compact and easy-to-install unit
• Suited for use in confined spaces where inert gases might accumulate
• Features a current-limiting zirconium oxide oxygen sensor that will operate continuously for 10 or more years, with little or no maintenance
• Responds to low oxygen conditions within seconds
• Does not require exposure to a reference gas

Air Liquide America

Zero Grade (4.8) Helium, Size 200 Cylinder, CGA580
• Is one of the most inert gases and lighter than air. It is used as a cooling media in nuclear reactions and other studies.
• Most commonly used carrier gas for Flame Ionization (FlD) and Thermal Conductivity (TCD) gas chromatography
• Users should contact Airgas representative or local branch location for availability in their area


HiQ® Series
• Includes a wide variety of gases for gas chromatography, NMR, ICP, HPLC, AAS, FTIR
• Customized to meet specific requirements
• Delivered in a form and frequency tailored to each application
• Dedicated service and expertise available


Experis® Helium BIP® Gas
• Contains ultra-low levels of oxygen, hydrocarbons and water making it an ideal carrier and makeup gas for many laboratory applications
• Minimizes column bleed and baseline noise for more accurate analyses
• Patented BIP® technology features an automatic shut-off valve making it impossible for a rogue cylinder to be delivered and connected

Air Products


Specialty Gas Manufacturers

Air Liquide www.airliquide.com
Air Products www.airproducts.com
Airgas www.airgas.com
CONCOA/Controls Corporation of America www.concoa.com
Gasco www.gascogas.com
Linde www.linde-gas.com
Matheson Tri-Gas www.matheson-trigas.com
Norlab www.norlab-gas.com
Parker Balston www.labgasgenerators.com
Praxair www.praxair.com
Proton Onsite www.protononsite.com
VICI Metronics www.vici.com