Helium is the least water-soluble monatomic gas, and one of the least water-soluble of any gas (CF 4, SF 6, and C 4 F 8 have lower mole fraction solubilities: 0.3802, 0.4394, and 0.2372 x 2 /10 −5, respectively, versus helium's 0.70797 x 2 /10 −5), and helium's index of refraction is closer to unity than that of any other gas. Basically, Helium is found along with natural gasses and a process called fractional distillation is used for isolating Helium. Using a process called liquefaction, Helium can be isolated from atmosphere but the process is too expensive to use. Helium is too light and can escape our planet’s atmosphere.
Hydrogen is the lightest and most common element in the cosmos. Its atomic number is 1. In its elemental state, hydrogen is rare. But it is one of the components of water and vital to life.
Common Uses of Hydrogen
It is primarily used to create water. Hydrogen gas can be used for metallic ore reduction. Chemical industries also use it for hydrochloric acid production. The same hydrogen gas is required for atomic hydrogen welding (AHW).
Electrical generators use the gas as a rotor coolant. The element is relied upon in many manufacturing plants to check for leaks. Hydrogen can be used on its own or with other elements. Other applications include fossil fuel processing and ammonia production. Ammonia is part of many household cleaning products. It is also a hydrogenating agent used to change unhealthy unsaturated fats to saturated oils and fats.
Hydrogen is also used for methanol production. Tritium is generated in nuclear reactions. It is a radioactive isotope used to make H-bombs. It can also be used as a luminous paint radiation source. Tritium is used in biosciences as an isotopic label.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
The element is often used as fuel because of its high calorific value. Combustion generates plenty of energy. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity from oxygen and hydrogen. These electrochemical cells generate only water vapor so it is considered as environment friendly.
Fuel cells are used in spacecrafts, remote weather stations and submarines. When in liquid form, it is used as rocket fuel. Deuterium is heavy hydrogen. This isotope is used for nuclear fusion reaction in nuclear reactors.
Use in Weather Balloons
Because hydrogen is light, scientists are able to use it with weather balloons. Meteorologists’ weather balloons have this element installed. These balloons are fitted with equipment to record information necessary to study the climate. During the First World War, these were utilized in balloon airships.
Other uses of hydrogen are in the fertilizer and paint industries. It is also used in the food and chemical industries. Food industries use the element to make hydrogenated vegetable oils such as margarine and butter. In this procedure, vegetable oils are combined with hydrogen. By using nickel as a catalyst, solid fat substances are produced.
In petrochemical industry, hydrogen is required for crude oil refinements.
Welding companies use the element for welding torches. These torches are utilized for steel melting. Hydrogen is required as a reducing agent in chemical industries. Chemical industries use them for metal extraction. For example, hydrogen is needed to treat mined tungsten to make them pure.
This element is used for producing several chemical compounds. Apart from ammonia, hydrogen can be harnessed in other ways. It can be used to make fertilizers, hydrochloric acids and an assortment of bases. The same element is required for methyl alcohol production. Methyl alcohol is used in inks, varnishes and paints. Hydrogen peroxide is another vital compound.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in many ways. First and foremost it is used for medication. It is included in most first aid kits. It is primarily used for treating wounds and cuts. Peroxide is also a toenail fungus disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide can be diluted in water. It can kill bacteria and germs if used as whitewash. The same element can be used for teeth whitening and canker sores treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used in non-medical ways. Other applications include a pest controller in gardens, removing stains on clothing and functioning as a bleaching agent for cleaning homes.
Hydrogen Production Methods
The element is produced in several ways. They can be harvested to be used as hydrogen fuel cells. It can also be generated via industrial processes. Other methods include bio hydrogen production, thermolysis or electrolysis. Hydrogen pinch and steam reforming are also used by many industries. The most common technique for harvesting the element is steam reforming.
Steam reacts with methanol to generate carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This process is done at high temperatures. When the temperature is set down, carbon monoxide will be produced. It can produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The efficiency rate is around 75%. Pinch is another technique.
This method moves the element through the hydro cracking sections. The objective is to produce the final procedure so no more hydrogen is emitted. Any hydrogen generated is stored. They are used for other means.
Thermolysis and Electrolysis
These are used for hydrogen production for industrial uses. The method is also known as water splitting. In this method, hydrogen and oxygen molecules are separated using electric currents. Heat is not necessary for electrolysis.
However, high temperatures will produce better hydrogen yields. Sometimes urine is used in lieu of water. Many uses of hydrogen rely on this method.
There is also bio hydrogen. The element it produces is useable. The process includes electrohydrogenesis, enzyme reactions and fermentation. With fermentation, biological materials are destroyed.
When we think of uses for helium, most everyone immediately thinks of party balloons, blimps, and high-pitched voices. However, the uses for helium go far beyond just a few novelties. (Never inhale helium, by the way. It can kill you.) In fact, without helium, we may have never had our supermarket checkouts, iPhones, or even the ability to detect tricky cancers.
Below are the different uses for helium that you probably didn’t know existed.And if you need helium for your retail chain or store, why not get a free helium quote from us?
1. The Internet
The tech industry has a lot of interesting uses for helium, including providing you the ability to read this very article. The fiber optic cables that deliver Internet access and cable television to your home and company are manufactured inside of a pure helium atmosphere so that air-bubbles cannot get trapped inside the cable. And while we’re on the topic…
2. Your iPhone
Inside that tablet on your coffee table, smartphone in your pocket, and computer on your desk is a semiconductor chip; a small wafer that houses a set of circuits, which transfer and point electrical currents throughout a device in order to perform specific functions. Helium is used four different ways in the semiconductor manufacturing process: in a specialized cooling process, as a dilutant gas for plasma etching, as a carrier gas for deposition processes, and as a leak detector. All modern electronics, including video games, televisions, and even solar panels rely on semiconductors and therefore, helium.
3. Apollo 13
All of the space shuttle missions, actually. Liquid hydrogen and oxygen are used for the rocket fuel, but helium is needed to clean the fuel tanks out once they’re emptied. Since helium is inert, it will not react and combust with any remaining traces of oxygen that might still be left behind in the tank. It also will not freeze in the pipes like any other liquid would if used to clean the tanks.
4. The Large Hadron Collider
Science has countless uses for helium, but this one’s the biggest. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) relies on massive quantities of superfluid helium in order to operate. In a three-stage process that takes weeks to complete, nearly 100 tons of helium are cooled to -456.34°F (that’s colder than outer space) so that the giant magnets that the LHC uses to help shoot particles around the 17-mile loop don’t overheat. No helium, no God particle!
5. Nuclear reactors
The energy industry is exploring different uses for helium as well. Next-generation nuclear reactors, or “Pebble Bed reactors,” are high-temperature reactors that are said to be safer and are more affordable than traditional nuclear reactors. The reactor produces heat by using turbines to pass helium gas through the core, which contains a bed of tennis ball-sized “pebbles” made of uranium.
SCUBA divers don’t descend underwater with just oxygen on their backs. To create an artificial atmosphere for the diver, that “oxygen tank” is actually a mixture of 80% helium and 20% oxygen. The addition of helium in a high pressure environment makes it easier for the diver to breathe in the air.
Some of the most critical uses for helium are in the medical industry. Helium is combined with oxygen for the treatment of asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory problems because the combination gets to the lungs much quicker than oxygen treatment alone. Helium’s also needed for…
Without helium, hospitals cannot produce MRI scans. The MRI, or “magnetic resonance imaging” uses an extremely powerful magnet to produce detailed images of internal body structures. The high-powered magnet has to be cooled down in order to operate, and with a low boiling point of -452.2°F, helium is the perfect gas for the task.
9. Computer hard drives
Believe it or not, one of the uses for helium is to help your computer remember your files. The first helium-filled hard drives came out in 2012 and were proven to be lighter, faster, and cooler than regular air-filled hard drives. The gas drives have a proven 50% higher storage capacity while using 23% less power, and 10,000 hard drives can be produced on a single tank of helium. In fact, helium performs so much better, that Hitachi Global has stated that it will not even make traditional, air-filled hard drives anymore.
Although most have since been replaced by diode lasers, low power helium-neon gas lasers were the original red beams used to scan bar codes at the checkout in stores and supermarkets. The original laser pointers also used helium-neon lasers.
11. Ship inspection
Among the more critical uses for helium is leak detection. Since it diffuses through solids three times faster than air, the notoriously hard to contain helium gas is used to detect leaks in the hulls of ships, air-conditioning systems in cars, and high-pressure equipment like vacuums and cryogenic systems.
12. Arc welding
Small Cans Of Helium
Helium is used in arc welding as a shielding gas because it is non-reactive and allows for a consistent weld at a higher heat transfer, which translates to a higher work speed. Many times, helium is blended with argon gas and the mixture can be adjusted based on the heat, shape of the weld, and speed required by the job. Pure helium is mostly used for seam welding.
One of the newer scientific uses for helium is in microscopes. New helium-icon microscopes are being used instead of traditional scanning electron microscopes because of their ability to produce images with much better resolution.
14. Your steering wheel
Hopefully you’ve never needed it, but that airbag in your car actually uses helium gas because of its ability to diffuse quickly. This allows that airbag to inflate nearly instantaneously upon impact.
One Use Of Helium Gas
Unfortunately, people have figured out that one of the uses for helium is as an effective means of committing suicide. Helium is lighter than air, so inhaling it displaces the oxygen in the lungs. If enough helium is inhaled, the oxygen needed to breathe is pushed out and the individual faces an embolism, rapid suffocation, or even exploding lungs. This is why, despite the funny voices, a person should never inhale helium from a tank or a balloon. And the same goes for helium burping, too.
Number One Use Of Helium