Inert gas (IG) to the chemist usually refers to any elemental gas of the eighth group of the periodic table, such as neon or argon that is resistant to chemical reaction because of possessing electronic stability. The term as used in marine applications is different, however and refers to one of two materials. Flue gases from diesel engines containing a very low level of oxygen constitute an inert gas as far as potentially explosive hydrocarbon products are concerned. Flue gases can be used to clean cargo compartments and associated equipment. In lieu of flue gases, nitrogen may also be used as the inert gas. Read about the processes and technology involved in articles by your Bright Hub contributors.
Image: Hellespont Alhambra - Supertanker
Public Domain U.S. Coast Guard