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What Is Helium And How Is It Produced?

Helium is a gas with the symbol "He" in the periodic table and is the second lightest element in the universe.

Helium is a gas with the symbol “He” in the periodic table and is the second lightest element in the universe. It was first discovered in the spectrum of the sun in 1868 and named after the Greek Sun God Helios. So, how is this colourless, odourless and tasteless gas formed and where is it used? Here is what you wonder about helium:

How Is Helium Formed?

Helium is formed by nuclear fusion, one of the most fundamental processes in the universe. Under conditions of high temperature and pressure in the cores of stars, hydrogen atoms combine to form helium. This process is the main reason why stars produce energy and shine. Most of the helium on Earth is formed in natural gas deposits as a result of the decay of radioactive elements.

Usage Areas Of Helium

  1. Balloons and Airships: Helium is widely used in balloons and airships because of its light weight and non-flammability.
  2. Medical Field: In Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices, helium is used to cool superconducting magnets.
  3. Scientific Research: Due to its low boiling point, helium is used in low temperature experiments and cryogenic (operating at very low temperatures) technologies.
  4. Diving For deep-sea diving, helium-based breathing mixtures are preferred to prevent diving sickness caused by nitrogen.
  5. Computer Chips and Fibre Optics Production: Helium is used as a protective atmosphere in the manufacture of computer chips and fibre optic cables.

Is There Any Harm Of Helium?

As a natural gas, helium poses no direct harm to the environment. However, excessive inhalation may cause oxygen depletion and risk of suffocation. It is therefore important to take appropriate safety precautions when working with helium gas.

Helium is an indispensable resource for our world, both industrially and scientifically. While its extraordinary properties make it a valuable element in many different fields, it is important to remember that its use must be done responsibly. By reminding that helium is a limited resource and should be preserved for future generations, we can once again emphasise the value of this light and versatile gas.


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