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Uses of Helium

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Last updated date: 29th Feb 2024
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Overview of Helium

Just like Hydrogen, Helium is a chemical element in the periodic table.  In today’s world, this chemical element is used for various purposes. Helium is recognised with the symbol “He”, and its atomic number is 2. 


Interestingly, Helium is a family of noble gases. Helium is called a noble gas because it does not readily react with anything in general. Other noble gases are Argon, Krypton, Xenon, Neon, Radon, and Oganesson. Further in this article, we will talk about the application of helium, why helium is used in diving apparatus, commercial uses of helium, and many more. 


What is Helium? 

Helium is not found in a solid state but in gas form. This gas does not have any colour; some say it is slightly grey. It is an odourless, tasteless, inert, non-toxic gas and is the first noble gas. This makes this gas's boiling point and melting point the lowest in the periodic table.


Helium is the second-lightest and second-most element that is observable in the universe. On the other hand, hydrogen is the lightest gas in the universe. The density of helium is 0.1786 g/L when it is in gas form. When Helium is turned into a liquid form, the density becomes 0.145 g per centimetre cube. 


In the Earth’s atmosphere, it is quite rare to find Helium. Today, Helium is generated by heavy radioactive elements' natural decay. Some heavy radioactive elements are thorium and uranium. 


Helium


Helium


What is Helium Used for? 

Helium is not a very common element found in the atmosphere but has many uses. Large companies and factories use Helium quite a lot. Normally, Helium is used as a cooling medium for the Large Hadron Collider. They are highly used while experimenting with other gases and in labs.


As for science background, Helium is highly used to keep satellite instruments cool. It is also used to cool down liquid oxygen and hydrogen, mostly used in Apollo space automobiles. Basically, this chemical element is mostly used to cool down heating objects. Some other uses of Helium are as follows:-

  • Helium is used for welding metals such as aluminium in rocket propulsion. 

  • It is highly used in cryogenics as a coolant because it is the coldest substance on Earth. 

  • Helium is also used as a high-pressure breathing operation, in which it is mixed with oxygen while scuba diving and caisson work. 

  • Helium is found in meteorites and rocks, and that helps cool down objects near them. 

  • By a combination of Helium and oxygen, doctors produce a heliox gas that is used for treatments. 

These are some of the scientific uses of Helium. Scientists use Helium for various experiments and outer space as well. 


Helium Being Used for Welding Purposes


Helium Being Used for Welding Purposes 


Helium Uses in Everyday life 

Helium is not only used for scientific purposes but for our daily lives as well. Yes, this chemical element is used by various manufacturing companies. Some daily uses of Helium are the following:-

  • It is used to fill decorative balloons, weather balloons and some other similar things. 

  • Helium is used to make medicines for patients who have lung issues. 

  • This chemical element enables better gas penetration to the alveoli in the lungs. 

  • Interestingly, Helium is also used for laparoscopic surgeries. 

  • While diving in water bodies helium replaces nitrogen. This helps the divers to go deeper under the water without having any issues. This is the answer for why is helium used in diving apparatus.

  • Meteorologists use helium to fill weather balloons.


Helium Balloon


Helium Balloon


Commercial Uses of Helium 

Helium is highly used to manufacture medicines for patients with lung problems. Some commercial uses of Helium are the following:-

  • It is popular in welding mixtures. 

  • This chemical element is used in electronics as well. It is used for the production of semiconductors or flat screens. 

  • It is used to perform the manufacturing process, particularly for its reinforcements. 


Applications of Helium 

Balloons are the common object where Helium is used most. But, we should know that they are a minor part of all Helium uses. Helium is used in some parts by looking at its properties as well. Here are some applications of Helium:-

  • Controlled Atmosphere - Helium is highly used as a protective gas in growing germanium and silicon crystals. This is because it is an inert gas. 

  • Arc Welding - It is used as a shielding gas on materials that are at welding temperatures. 

  • Industry Leak Detection - Helium is used to detect any leak in an industry. It diffuses through solids three times faster than air. 


Arc Welding


Arc Welding


Summary 

Helium is surely an important chemical element in our daily life. The uses of this chemical gas are increasing as the world progresses. As the gas is lighter than air, it is used in airships and balloons. Moreover, Helium has become an essential element in our daily lives and commercial industry. We have learned about this essential element i.e helium in this article. We discussed its uses, applications and its importance. 

FAQs on Uses of Helium

1. Is Helium a gas or liquid?

The original form of Helium is gas and is one of the most stable gas in the periodic table. It might exist as a gas, but under extreme conditions, it can turn into a fluid. 

2. Can Helium gas explode while using it?

Helium gas cannot explode in fact, it has no chance of exploding. It is non-combustible and is used to cool things, not for heating. 

3. Is Helium gas safe to inhale for humans?

Unfortunately, Helium gas is very harmful to human beings. Once inhaled in a large amount, it can cause death by asphyxiation in seconds or minutes.