Helium uses include the parts in which understanding of the standard methods and mentioning several application is necessary to begin to appreciate the immense effect helium has in medical technology, food or other necessary production. The side effect of inhaling too much of helium will also be discussed.
You may also read:
History and Development of Helium
Helium is one of the most abundance chemical compounds in the universe. It is termed a noble gas because it don’t chemically interact with another compounds. The atomic number of helium is 2. In its natural compound state, it is odorless, tasteless or colorless.
Helium is the most widely available compounds in the world, found in the solar system before it was detected in the earth. A French chemist, saw the yellow line in the solar spectrum cycle during the research of a total solar eclipse in 1800s. A British chemist also realized that this line, with a wavelength of several nanometers could not be processed by any compounds known at the time of the expedition. It was analyzed that the new chemical compounds in the solar system are thus capable for these phenomenon of mysterious yellow line. The chemical element of the known gas is named helium.
The expedition to mine helium on earth’s crust started in 1800s. A Scottish astronomer, try to analyzed with uranium-coating mineral called nitrate. He exposed nitrate mineral acid and collected the whole gas processed. He then delivered the sample of this mystery gas to another scientific community and thus was able to detect helium in its production. Another Swedish astronomer inherently also extrated helium in nitrate at the same time as it was found.
Helium, therefore, were appropriately analyzed to be part of 0.0006% of the Earth’s atmosphere in existence. These small trace amounts of helium is not gravitationally tied to the earth surface and continue to be forever granted towards the space. Helium in the Earth’s atmosphere is deprived by the decay of radioactive uranium compounds in the earth’s surface. Beta decay, another type of radioactive decay that produces particles called Beta particles. Beta particles can be helium ions found after the extraction of two electrons from its natural environment. The newly found Helium could finally work its way up into the atmosphere through cracks in the ground. As a result, Helium uses in many application in life.
Usage of Helium
The biggest current usage of helium is for human cryogenics. The volume of helium spent for cryogenics was about 420 million liter. The chief cryogenic applicable to be explained in this part are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), semiconductor chip processing, and huge-scale and little-scale foundation analysis that needed helium temperatures. However, no scientific data are exist on the quality used for each of these intended applications.
It should be notified that the availability of harmless, cheap helium resulted in the abandonment of liquefied hydrogen as a direct coolant. In a situation like this of extreme scarcity, hydrogen could also be used as a refrigerator, with enough safety precautions.
The lowest temperature applicable with hydrogen, however, is 9 C, which would require a special fix in magnet wiring technology to an alloy or some other high-temperature material. Systems coolant only affected by liquefied hydrogen would also not be being able to acquire small enough temperatures to allow a secondary stage of refrigeration based on helium. This problem might accentuated by resolving using some of type of magnetic refrigeration technique as an evolutionary stage. Any changes would require a large inflow investment in infrastructure.
Some evidence provide that the human voice can be tampered with a bit of helium. This gas is also used as light weight aircraft carrier fuel. The chemical element is usually bonded with hydrogen through air balloons. Hydrogen itself is a fine gas but helium bonded with the balloon get safer to use. The similar gas is used by carnival workers too. Divers use oxygen and helium during their descent to decompress. The combination help them with the atmosphere necessary to survive in high pressure under sea water.
1. Helium for Medical Applications
Helium also has great effects in medical applications hence provide great effects towards the betterment of people’s lives. Here are the uses of Helium in medical applications:
- MRI Machine Production
The helium uses in everyday life for medical applications. The important medical usage of liquefied helium is for the initiation towards magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. Liquefied helium is consume as a refrigerant coolant for the hyper conductivity magnetic that are imperative compounds in many of these medical tools.
The wide ranging availability of helium at a reasonable price and the stagnant of the helium commodity prices have contributed to the fast growth of MRI as a debugging tool and may have been responsible for it to make it a greater impact to health care professional throughout the world.
There is a huge, larger base of superconductivity devices in the worlds and this statistics is expected to achieve 20 percent growth per decade. However there are only separate reason for the abundance of superconducting MRI systems in stateside alone that is the soft regulations measure with which liquefied helium can be extracts and its exceedingly at low rate cost.
There is no subtraction for helium in this applicable method alone. The use of low-temperature superconductivity wiring has achieve worldwide admiration while under the investigation by few manufacturers that is not possible to become a viable alternative to modern superconductivity in MRI devices. High superconductivity cost times as much as modern superconductor wiring. However, this cost might be prohibitive and instead may decrease in the future and both the mechanical and electrical behaviors of low yield would have to be exponentially increased after they could be used efficiently for this medical professional usage.
Even though with the greater impact towards medical possibilities of MRI potential this application’s deem for higher helium enrichment is thought to garner explosive potential that turn the demand flat or to grow only slowly over time. Because it is hard for many of miner to extract dependable quantities of liquefied helium in other parts of the mining ground. MRI industry have introduced new method that tragically increase the quality of liquefied helium needed.
- In Cryogenics Field
These technologies involves the improved possibility with inferior thermal conductivity cryogenics that condense the helium for processing and better magnetic wiring and compositions that greatly enhance the size and height of components that happened to be heated to lower capacity compared to the small exchanger load that the magnet itself reproduces. These subsystems, that are often traded at the high cost of production for the lower price and substantial advantage of cryogenics materials, have drastically increased helium production in the superconductivity of MRI systems that are produced today.
The oldest generation of theses machines uses 20 times more helium than newer generations and can lived as long as 3 years between helium refills. However while superconductivity MRI methods are often failed to the low-end performers, most of the statistics in the future usage and world markets is for systems at higher than average magnets field tensile softy, which use electromagnetic or temporary magnets and require cryogenics.
- In Respiratory System Field
Helium can generally be used for breathing observation technique. It is necessary in treating the sickness of difficulty in breathing and other conditions that affect the flow of air in the lung. The gas is usually consumed to treat diseases that affect the breathing are. Some hospital scanning relies on liquefied helium.
When the chemical element is set at -269 C (the lowest boiling point), it converted into usability in MRI magnet cooling down period. Acute and worsened forms of breathing ailment treatments have helium chemical involved. In every cases, hydrogen and helium are bonded together. This bond gets tied to the lungs much faster. Helium in it also acts as a different forms and combinations and are applicable in medical tools and nuclear ailments.
- Cardiovascular System
It has been shown that human tissue can be safely guarded against oxygen restriction in blood supply by subjecting it to several inhalation of helium gases thus able to modestly reduced myocardial diseases. It has also been analyzed that helium inhalation increase widening of blood vessels that make a patient feels relaxed and thus able to exercise more vigorously.
- Neurology Application
Some studies have indicated the effects of Helium post-treatment in the human nervous system, and the instrumentation has yet to be properly conducted. They analyzed that Helium was superior to other gases in both in diseases volume reductions and improvements in neurological defects. In a similar research a few scientist has conclude that in a surgery model of a patient with traumatic brain injury, the treatment with helium at elevated pressures had greater protective neurology effects.
According to another research, rats treated with Helium gases below room temperature are subjected to cerebral artery diseases that had decreased infraction size and improved neurological results. The researchers contributed the beneficial effect of helium to neurology caused by the high thermal conductivity of helium compared with oxygen. Remarkably researchers also found that irradiating the cells with a Helium-neon laser caused production of the cells in a normal dependent manner. This application is promising in regards to neurology restoration post injury.
- Helium Gas in Surgery
Helium has also been found to be a safe gases to be blow upon in high-risk patients undergoing renal surgery. Researchers analyzed that patients who get treated most are those with difficulty in emptying carbon monoxide gas from their blood vessel, such as patients with conditions like congestive heart failure.
In general surgery, helium is being researched as a prospective gas for abdominal blowing alternative to carbon monoxide mainly because in laboratory and hospital trials, helium has not generated the respiratory acidic commonly related with blowing using carbon monoxide. Furthermore Helium plasma technology has also found an application in abdominal and renal surgery. Helium plasma is being used in the thermal exchanger coagulation of blood tissues that empty the bleeding from the surgical tissue and increases visualization of bleeding area.
2. Helium for Magnet Production Application
Helium is used to cool superconductor magnets overheating. This is necessary during their optimal operation. Welding corporation also depended on it to applied protection. It is also applicable to the same way in the growth of titanium, zinc, aluminium and uranium. Welding also include as one of the largest group of large helium usage. The amount of helium apparently consumed in this job was about 470 million scf. These data may be misinterpreted, henceforth, because the suppliers of helium for welding also tend to be the leading suppliers of helium for most huge-scale, incidental usage.
However, it is still unsure how much helium is actually consume every year for welding technique and whether this decline is the root cause of a global subtraction in the usage of helium in welding method, huge amount depletion in other usage are reported as welding or a change in how the other uses are analyzed. These two usage of helium are to be analyzed further in the section of arc welding and laser welding.
Gaseous helium is used for gas metal arc welding method and gas tungsten arc welding technique. The helium applicable mainly as a protection gas, enabling atmospheric contamination of the melting metal and stabilizing extraction. It also readily added as the additional method in gas nitrogen arc welding of protecting the yellow hot tungsten electrodes from the wild atmosphere.
The primary function of helium in these applications relies in its high atomization kinetic and efficient thermal conductivity, bonded with its inertness properties. The advantages of its usage also involved greater welding insertion in large joints and in metals with very efficient thermal energy. Higher transfer speeds cause increasing greater efficiency that effect better protecting gas mileage in horizontal and overheat position welding and flattening the surface of root metal when passed as another backup gas.
3. Helium in Welding Application
Some welding ingredients can also initiate a wide variety of technique that cover shielding gases. However others usage are quite necessary. Such as the aluminum metals and other reactivity alloys that require faster protection. While nitrogen is used in some of the usage that include false inertness, helium or helium bonded are scarcely used to decrease the welding pool width or decrease the travel light speed.
These hydrogen-helium compositions are very present in that they joined the good arc stability and higher price of the argon with the higher consumed of the helium. The recycling part of helium would cause greater cost in arc welding usage but would not be possible. In those re-activities that are most technologically advanced challenging in weld methodology, there may be no substitute for helium. For other usage, argon replaces gas might be substituted for helium, as is done in many nations where helium gas is hard to extract, but there would be some decrease in productivity.
Other Applications of Helium
Here are more Helium uses in everyday which is for space and technology application:
Space Technology Application
NASA space programs use the gas to ignite the fuel in their shuttles. Liquefied fuels are volatile at best and they are packed with reactive material that could eliminate a spacecraft’s container, to avoid this mishap then the aircraft is provide with helium-packed gas. The similar procession is then used in Zeppelin blimps and hot air balloons. It is referred to hydrogen for two main reasons. It is lighter and inflammable, the chemicals element is also used to keep nuclear reactors cool in accordance with their safety levels.
Hydrogen and oxygen are sometimes used as rocket fuel, Helium lasers use the element extensively to achieve its primary goals. These tools are then used for pattern reading. The same chemical is also needed to detect small fractures in steels and other vehicles component.
Helium dating mechanism is depended unto dating rocks that provide uranium and titanium. The gas is applicable for protection purpose in production of germanium crystal and silicon generation. It is priced as a protective gas due to its inert property. Helium’s behavior also make it suitable for monitoring in quantum mechanics theory. Its structure is simple and quite small to study.
Numerous mathematical formulas are then applied to ascertain the subatomic particle properties. Using these available methods, neutrons, electrons and atoms can be further studied for processing. Henceforth, these applied testing shall not considered for their actions properties accurately. This is because of nature processing of quantum mechanics.
The atomic number of Helium indicates that there are two electrons and two protons in a neutral helium atom cycle. Its most necessary properties are density, melting and high boiling points, state of the masses and atomic matter. The density is 111.325 kilopascals and 0.1931 grams per liter at 0°C. Helium atomic matter is roughly 4.3016 grams per unit. Solid and liquefied helium can only get manifestes in high and low temperature environment. Either through a condition that cannot manifest under normal pressures requirements. -458 F is the melting point of helium while the boiling point is roughly -432°F.
One of the more fascinating usage of helium is in cryogenics field. This process is concerned with low temperature phenomena and its production towards living organisms. Most of the helium processed today is used for cryogenics production. The following usage for helium are collected from a number of relevant sources as well as from comments.
- Filling balloons (blimps) as it is a much safer gas than hydrogen and also Helium gas is used to inflate scientific balloons and party balloons.
- widely used as an inert gas shield for arc welding in countries where helium is cheaper than argon
- Helium gas is used as inert shield for arc welding, to suppress the fuel tanks of liquid fueled rockets and supersonic windtunnels.
- Helium is bonded with oxygen to create nitrogen-free atmosphere for deep-sea divers so that they will not suffer from a condition known as nitrogen narcosis.
- Liquid helium is an essential cryogenic material and used to study superconductivity and creates a superconductive magnet. Department of Energy’s Jefferson Lab uses a large amount of liquid helium to operate its superconducting electron accelerator.
- Protective gas in growing silicon and germanium crystals, and in titanium and zirconium production cooling medium for nuclear reactors.
- A mixture of 80% helium and 20% oxygen is used as an artificial atmosphere for divers and others working under pressure cryogenic applications as a gas for supersonic wind tunnels a protective gas for semiconductor materials pressurizing liquid fuel rockets.
Helium element has below properties:
- The atomic number: 2
- The atomic weight: 4.002602
- Melting point: 0.95 K (-272.2 ° C or -458.0 ° F)
- Boiling Point: 4:22 K (-268.93 ° C or -452.07 ° F)
- Density: 0.0001785 g / cm 3
- Phase at room temperature: Gas
- compounds Classification: Non-metallic
- Number period: 1
- Group number: VIII A
- Name of the group: Gas Noble
- Estimates of abundance in the earth’s crust: 8 × 10 -3 milligrams per kilogram
- Estimates of abundance in the ocean: 7 × 10 -6 milligrams per liter
- Number of Stable Isotope: 2 (View all isotope data)
- Ionization energy: 24.587 eV
- The oxidation number: 0 and Shell electron configuration: 1s 2
Helium Occurrence and Discovery
Helium can be found all over the world, however it isn’t evenly distributed on Earth’s surface. Its most natural form is gas. It display many similar characteristics as with other similar noble gases. Helium doesn’t form compounds easily with other chemicals. It is also highly safe and stable. But as the research earlier produce the conclusion that the element is very applicable. Its symbol in the periodic table is He. Its stability and non-reactivity environment makes it succeptible tool for handling volatile materials. The element was first sighted in the 1800s during a solar eclipse phenomena. It almost take scientists 30 years of research material to extend and isolate the gas from the natural mineral.
The gas is not widely distributed on Earth. It is usually processed from natural gas. The specific amount that was found ranges from 7%. It didn’t take long for scientists to realize its advantages in military strike. Access to it was constricted during the World Wars. In its purest format the helium element doesn’t pose any health risks towards human.
However, breathing huge amounts of helium has its own risks. The danger is the gas functions may cause difficulty in breathing. Inhaling helium from pressure tanks can damage the lungs due to its high pressure that can make the lung bursts. The invariants found in weather hot air balloons may have other similar compounds that are dangerous to breathe directly.
We can surmised that Helium has greater importance effect in the betterment of human lives compared to its disadvantages, however one must be able to use it moderately as chemical products can only be safe to use within acceptable limits that were legally imposed in its branding. The only harmful effect Helium can done to human is alter their voices completely that it will become childish voices and dizziness can also happen when one inhale too much of a helium gas. Always make sure that not too much inhalation is taking effect when it concern chemical gases.
You may also read:
- Job Opportunities after Bsc Chemistry
- Branches of Biochemistry
- Chemicals in the Brain
- Chemicals in Weed
- Chemicals in Cigarette
- Chemicals in Food