Machinists looking for an alternative to acetylene gas for cutting and welding steel, and plumbers looking for an alternative to propane for soldering copper pipes, no longer have MAPP gas as an option. Its production was discontinued in 2008. Instead of MAPP gas, plumbers can now use MAP-Pro gas, which burns a little hotter than propane. Machinists can fortify MAP-Pro gas with oxygen to produce a flame that can cut and weld steel.
Goodbye MAPP, Hello MAP-Pro
MAPP is an acronym for methylacetylene-propadiene propane, which were its main ingredients, although it also contained iso-butane and butane. MAPP gas turned out to be less than ideal for welding steel because of its high hydrogen content, and it burned slightly too hot to be safe for soldering. MAP-Pro gas, on the other hand, is almost entirely composed of propylene, with a half percent or less of propane.
MAP-Pro Vs. Propane
MAP-Pro gas burns at a temperature of 3,730 degrees Fahrenheit, while propane burns at 3,600 F. Because it heats copper faster and to a higher temperature, MAP-Pro gas is a superior alternative to propane for soldering. If you opt to use it, the manufacturer recommends using a specially designed torch. Adding oxygen to the flame raises the temperature to 5,200 F, which is suitable for cutting and welding steel when precision is not required.
Like propane, Map-Pro gas comes in 14.1 ounce cylinders with a threaded bushing to which you screw your torch. A cylinder of Map-Pro costs about three times as much as one containing propane. If you're using your torch for projects that don't require much heat, such as softening paint, heating frozen pipes and loosening rusted bolts, save money by using propane.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.