Helium (He) is the second lightest element, after hydrogen, and is lighter than air. Like argon, it is chemically inert and will not sustain life. Due to its high thermal conductivity and high ionization potential, helium is used as a shielding gas for welding applications when increased heat input is desired, and low tolerance for oxidizing elements exist such as with aluminum and magnesium welding.
Helium Physical Properties
|Molecular Weight |
|Critical Temp. (°F)||-450.3|
|Critical Pressure (psia)||33.0|
|Boiling Point (°F)||-452.1
|Melting Point (°F)|
|Gas Density @ 70°F 1 atm (lb/ft3)||.0103|
|Specific Volume @ 70°F 1 atm (ft3/lb)||96.65|
|Specific Heat @ 70°F (Btu/lbmol-°F)||4.97|
Safety Data Sheet PDF Link
Helium Uses and Applications
Helium is inert and the least soluble of all gases in liquids and is therefore used as a pressurization gas for:
- cryogenic rocket propellants in space/missile applications
- heavy water in nuclear reactors
- for all liquids at room or low temperatures.
Helium is added to neutral atmospheres, e.g. in heat treatment applications requiring a protective atmosphere.
Helium is used extensively in the welding industry as an inert shielding gas for arc welding. Helium is used in welding because of its inert properties at arc temperatures. It is an ideal gas for use with materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper and magnesium alloys due to is high heat conductivity. It is also used in conjunction with helium (“leak”) detectors to test the integrity of fabricated components and systems.
Various mixtures of helium and oxygen are used as breathing gases for divers who must work at great depths and therefore high pressures. The use of helium to dilute the oxygen instead of nitrogen, as in air, prevents nitrogen being dissolved in the blood, which is the cause of nitrogen narcosis (also known as “bends”).
Since Helium is the second lightest gas on the periodic table, and nonflammable, it is perfect to use in balloons to give them the ability to float in the air. We can handle all different demand levels. We carry the Balloon time helium tanks that are perfect for any small event and we also carry the large industrial cylinders for users with a higher demand. Click on the link below to learn more about the balloon time helium.
Due to nonflammability and low density, this gas is ideal for filling toy balloons (in mixtures with nitrogen), airplane tires, advertising blimps, geostationary balloons (certain projects are under way for the realization of balloons designed to serve as television transmission and observation relays).
Helium mixtures with hydrocarbons are used in flushing Geiger counters used for the detection of 〈α, β, γ and X-rays.
Helium is used as a carrier gas or as a purge gas for a variety of semiconductor processes.
Helium is used as a calibration and balance gas in calibration mixtures, a carrier gas in gas chromatography and purge and zero (span) gas for analytical instruments.
Helium is used:
- as a combined cooling and shielding medium for the pulling of optical fibers.
- for cooling uranium rods in nuclear reactors.
- in various types of gas lasers as a buffer or carrier gas.
- in mixtures with neon and argon for filling electronic tubes such as the familiar neon sign.
- for epitaxial crystal growth (inert atmosphere).
- for vacuum breaking in heat treatment furnaces.
- as an airbag inflating gas in high-pressure capsules.
- to create inert furnace atmospheres in special glass processing and valuable metals applications.
Liquid helium is used to cool the superconductive magnets in NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) for analytical or medical purposes and in the R&D to study processes around absolute Zero.
Helium Purity Grades
|Product/Purity||Purity Percent||Part Number Prefix|
|Helium: Research, 6.0||>99.9999%|
Oxygen < 0.1 ppm
Water < 0.2 ppm
Total Hydrocarbons (as CH4) < 0.1 ppm
Nitrogen < 0.4 ppm
Oxygen < 0.1 ppm
Carbon Monoxide/Carbon Dioxide < 0.2 ppm
|Helium: Lab & Specialty Grade||>99.9995%|
Oxygen < 1 ppm
Water < 1 ppm
Total Hydrocarbons (as CH4) < 0.5 ppm
|Helium: Ultra High Purity Grade||>99.999%|
Oxygen < 4 ppm
Water < 5 ppm
Total Hydrocarbon (as CH4) < 0.5 ppm
|Helium: High Purity Grade||>99.995%|
Oxygen < 5 ppm
Water < 15 ppm
|Medical Helium: USP Grade||>99.0%|
Air < 1.0%
Carbon Monoxide < 0.001% (10 ppm)
Oxygen < 5 ppm
Water < 5 ppm
|Helium: Balloon Grade||>97.5%||HELB|
Helium Transportation Information
or Railcar Quantity
|2.2||75 kg or L||150 kg||N/A|
Helium Balloon Chart