Helium: Resource challenges require new means of recovery


Helium is an essential resource for industrial use. The gas has become invaluable for leak detection as well as cooling in metal working and in medical equipment. To combat what seem like ever-looming shortages, new methods of helium recovery are becoming more important than ever – and specialised compressors can play a vital role in this.

Due to its characteristic properties, helium is used for a large variety of industrial applications. With the lowest boiling point of all gases, it is used in cryogenic research for example, as a coolant for superconductors found in computer tomographs. Because of its small atomic diameter, it is able to permeate even the smallest openings. This is what makes the gas an ideal choice for leak testing. The fact that it is inert and almost non-reactive makes it extremely versatile.

Helium is also used for quenching in metal working as a superior alternative to oil. The noble gas prevents discolouration from oxidisation. In addition, it eliminates the need for subsequently cleaning the workpieces, thus increasing efficiency and improving cycle times.

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