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Air Liquide: Driving Liquid Air

Have you ever heard of liquid air? The process of liquifying air was a major scientific achievement that took place over 100 years ago. Even after 100 years there are only a few companies that liquify air, which is probably why you've never heard of it before. Liquifying air is a cheap way to isolate different gasses like oxygen and nitrogen.

The task of liquefying air began in 1892, when Frenchman Georges Claude began working with acetylene. At the time, acetylene was thought to be a very promising substance as it was used in lighting fixtures, but it was very difficult to produce and transport. Georges Claude worked out a method for liquefying air in order to remove its different components and isolate the oxygen. Oxygen had nothing to do with acetylene at the time, except Claude felt that using oxygen could help reduce costs of producing the fires necessary to separate acetylene.

When Georges Claude heard that a scientist named Carl von Linde had managed to liquefy air, Claude set out to do it himself but vowed to do it faster and more efficiently. During the day he worked as an engineer at Thomson-Houston and he spent his nights conducting tests in an old warehouse. For two years he worked with a second-hand expansion engine, conducting experiments by trial and error to solve all his technical problems. When he needed to lubricate refrigerated moving parts he replaced oil with petroleum ether so it would remain liquid down to 140 degrees. To seal moving parts he used dry leather packing between the piston and the cylinder liner.

And finally, after all these small tricks were put in place, he succeeded! He created a system using cold air from the expansion cylinder to liquefy pre-cooled pressurized air at the exchanger outlet. It was a simple and inexpensive matter to extract the oxygen from this liquefied air. If liquifying air sounds like a mystical process now, in an age full of advanced technology, just imagine what people thought of Georges Claude when he told the world he was going to form a company that liquified air!

The company he formed is called Air Liquide, and it is now the world leader in industrial and medical gases and similar services. Air Liquide's core business is to supply oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and other gasses and services to all kinds of industries. Steel, oil refining, chemicals, glass, electronics, healthcare, food processing, metallurgy, paper, and aerospace are all industries that employ Air Liquide products and services. With a global presence of 130 subsidiaries in over 70 countries. What began as a small private experiment to build the components of old light bulbs has grown into a major modern company.

Air Liquide is a private carrier, which means it maintains its own fleet and hires truck drivers. Because Air Liquide is such a diverse, international company, driving jobs with Air Liquide are stable, well supported positions. Solo Air Liquide drivers can expect to be home 80-90% of the time and make between $50,000 and $70,000 a year depending on the type of run and work performance. Air Liquide provides benefits like medical and life insurance, performance benefits, ample vacation time, flexible spending accounts, and quarterly profit sharing. As Air Liquide grows and succeeds, so do each of its employees! If you are interested in a truck driving job, you should apply here to drive for Air Liquide, or to find out more about Air Liquide.


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