Helium – Wise husbandry required


Colourless, odourless and a limited resource, helium answers multiple applications and is undergoing something of a turnaround. Indeed so much so, that this month’s hot topic takes the opportunity to delve deeper into the price fluctuations and future for this inert but invaluable gas.

But now, gasworld reflects on the science-side by investigating the myriad of applications and supply trends that differentiate this gas from its noble gas peers.

A breadth of uses
The chemical characteristics that set helium apart from other industrial gases are undoubtedly its low density and the fact that it boils at -269˚C and in doing so, constitutes the world’s coldest liquid. Thanks to these properties the element is an archetypal industrial gas, serving the needs of a multitude of sectors.

Dr William Nuttall co-editor of the 2012 Routledge release ‘The Future of Helium as a Natural Resource’, and Senior Lecturer at Cambridge Judge Business School helped explain, “Helium serves a broad range of applications, in a very wide range of sectors and for several reasons. Firstly, it has applications as a lifting gas because of its very low density.

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