We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Oxygen Lance?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An oxygen lance is a device used to melt or cut steel too thick to be cut with a conventional oxy-acetylene torch using a long alloy steel tube or pipe to feed oxygen under pressure to a preheated area. The oxygen lance achieves this cutting action by causing an oxidation and melting reaction of a preheated area of the material to be cut by directing the jet of oxygen onto it. The stream of oxygen then blows this area of melted steel away to form a cut. Steel and cast iron up to eight feet (about 240 cm) thick can be melted using an oxygen lance which is not possible using conventional cutting apparatus.

The typical oxygen lance is a very simple device which consists of a alloy steel tube with an inside diameter of 0.15 to 0.25 inches (about 3-6 mm), a specially designed long reach oxy-acetylene torch, an oxygen source capable of supplying a constant 40-50 PSI (2.7-3.5 bar) flow to the lance, and suitable fire proof safety equipment. The lance tube itself should be as long as is practical since it is steadily consumed during the cutting process and should keep the operator at a safe distance from the cutting area.

The cutting procedure is also fairly simple considering the thickness of material that it melts. The edge of the section of steel is heated to a bright cherry red with the oxy-acetylene torch and the tip of the oxygen lance is then applied to this area. The pressurized flow of oxygen causes a vigorous oxidation reaction on the surface of the steel which, in turn, causes a peak in localized temperature sufficient to melt the material. The jet of oxygen also serves to blast away this melted material creating a channel or cut in the steel. This process creates an impressive shower of sparks over a considerable distance so care should be taken to ensure that workers and equipment are kept away from the cutting area.

If the material being cut is of nominal thickness then the oxy-acetylene torch can be removed after the cutting process begins. In the case of thicker materials, the torch should be used to constantly keep an area of preheated material preceding the oxygen lance. During the operation, the lance tube will be consumed by the intense heat at the cut point and should be discarded once it becomes too short to be safely used.

These characteristics of the oxygen lance make it a particularly efficient and cost-effective method of cutting steel and cast iron materials too thick to be cut with a normal oxy-acetylene torch. The oxygen lance should, however, not be confused with a thermal or thermic lance. That device operates on a similar principle but uses a bundle of iron and magnesium rods inside the lance tube to create a self-sustaining and extremely hot cutting flame.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.