Locate, identify, measure: A survey of helium leak detection techniques


Leak detection is important to anyone who manufactures or uses closed vessels. In the industrial gas business we deal with all kinds of closed vessels, from pressurized cylinders to vacuum pumps.

This article summarizes “Fundamentals for Helium Leak Detection,” a webinar presented by John McLaren, Product Manager for Agilent Technologies Vacuum Products Division.

A leak, for purposes of this discussion, is an “unintended crack, hole, or porosity in a containing wall that allows the admission or escape of liquid or gas.” In our industry, even a very small crack can be critical to the operating efficiency and/or safety of a part or vessel that is intended to be leak-tight. Systems engineers need to be able to locate, identify, and measure leaks accurately in products that are sealed to prevent liquids or gases from escaping or entering. Not all leaks are large enough to do harm or cause concern, so it is important that leak detection is able to identify what is meaningful to you. 

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