The process is a Thermo-Chemical Process requiring a source of intense heat, referred to as “Preheat”, and pure oxygen. The pure oxygen requirement is of a 99.5% minimum purity, which is the minimum purity typically provided in cylinders and bulk systems. A reduction in purity of .1% will reduce cutting speed about 10%, so one can see the necessity for the purity.
While the source of the Oxygen may be pure, improper connections, bad hoses, or leaks of any sort can allow impurities in the system thereby reducing the cutting speed. The high purity of the Oxygen presents a very dangerous situation and requires extreme care in the selection of equipment and the design of piping systems for its use. There are numerous documents available to assist with these safety issues. Federal Law (OSHA) presents numerous requirements for the equipment to be used, as well as the procedures to be followed.
The process can be used for cutting/severing many different materials with the basic requirement that the oxide formed must have a lower melting point than the base material to be cut. A good example of a material one cannot cut is Aluminum whose melting point is in the order of 1,200-1,300 degrees F but whose oxide is in the range of 5,000+ degrees F. Stainless steel has additives such as Chromium and Nickel added for “Oxidization Resistance” and this is the process (Oxidization) one is trying to promote, i.e. this type material is not cut without some assistance.