Unlike the atmospheric gases, on Earth, Helium is quite rare. Helium does exist in the atmosphere, but it is not practical, cost effective or efficient to extract it from the air. Most helium present today is created by the natural radioactive decay of heavy radioactive elements thorium and uranium. This helium is trapped within natural gas reserves and is extracted if the concentration is viable.
Helium is an element known as a noble gas. It is colorless and odorless, and it is abundant throughout the universe, but not on Earth. You may know that helium is that it is lighter than air, which is why it’s useful in balloon filling. The element helium has many more uses than party balloons. It is also used in subsea diving, medical devices such as MRI machines and in the developing field of quantum computing.
To understand why helium is so important to modern society, you must understand its chemical properties. Helium is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas, the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements at -269 Deg.
The shrinking global supply of helium has become a major issue. The dependence upon helium in modern technology has increased, so has its value.
• Balloon inflation
• TIG welding gas mixtures
• Gas chromatography
• Leak detection
• Heat transfer
• Gas lasers
• Breathing gas mixtures
• Medical gas mixtures
• Scientific research
• Purging gas for metallurgical processes
Breathing helium changes the pitch of the human voice, making it much higher and squeeky. The problem with doing this is that when you breathe in helium from a balloon, you are not breathing in air. This will cause asphyxia and will displace the oxygen from your lungs. Do not inhale helium.