Helium: What Can It Be Used For?
Admit it – at one time or another, most of us has sucked a little helium gas from a balloon at a party to get a laugh. But helium is much more than a falsetto-producing gas.
Helium – a.k.a. “He” on the periodic table – is the second most abundant element in the universe and a key element in the making of the energy that fuels our sun and stars. Commercially, helium’s story is a little less cosmic: typically, it is recovered from natural gas deposits (ho hum).
But what is helium actually used for, besides producing late-night laughs?
10 common applications for helium use in our world today:
- The largest use of helium is in cryogenics, where the element’s extremely low boiling point and low density make it a valuable tool for…well, freezing stuff (and people).
- Helium is used as a protective gas when growing silicon crystals for semiconductor applications and when producing titanium and zirconium.
- Helium is used as a shielding gas in the arc welding process, particularly when working with aluminum and copper.
- Helium is used in airships and commercial balloons to gain lift, since helium is lighter than air.
- Helium is used to condense hydrogen and oxygen to make rocket fuel.
- Helium can be added to oxygen tanks so that divers can breathe more easily and reduce the risk of narcosis and high-pressure nervous syndrome.
- Helium is also used as a heat transfer medium in some gas-cooled nuclear reactors.
- Helium dating is used to estimate the age of rocks that contain uranium and thorium.
- Helium is often used as a carrier gas in gas chromatography, where it can be used to test blood alcohol content, drug purity, food purity, and essential oil quality.
- Helium is used in solar telescopes to reduce the distortion caused by temperature fluctuations in between the lenses.
Not bad for the second lightest element in the universe!
Helium tank rentals in Rochester and Buffalo, NY
Of course, the most common and mundane use for helium among non-scientists like us is using it to fill balloons for a party; a helium tank rental or helium tank exchange from Irish Carbonic provides an economical way for you to bring the joy of balloons to your next event.
Helium tanks are available from 50 to 285 cubic feet – more than enough to fill enough balloons to make your guest of honor feel special, even in a socially distanced event.
Make your next party a lighter-than-air affair! Contact Irish Carbonic today for anything you need in helium tank rental in Buffalo and Rochester, NY.