Helium Gas | Properties | Uses | Facts - Elements and Compounds


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Helium Gas | Properties | Uses | Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Helium

    What is Helium

    Helium is a gas. It is classified as a nonmetal, and chemically it is an element. Its density is 0.178 grams per 1000 cubic centimeters. Helium is found in gaseous state at normal temperature. The melting point of helium is −272.2 °C (−458 °F) and its boiling point  is −268.9 °C (−452.07 °F). Helium's symbol is He, its atomic number is 2 and its atomic mass is 4.0026 amu. Helium atom has 2 electrons, 2 protons, 2 neutrons and 1 energy level. In the Periodic Table, Helium is located in Group 18, Period 1 and Block (S).

    Helium was discovered in 1895 by Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay.

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    Properties of Helium Gas

    • Helium is a colourless, odorless and non-toxic gas.
    • Helium is the second lightest element after hydrogen.
    • Helium is a chemically inert gas.
    • Helium is the least soluble in water than any other gas.
    • Of all the elements, helium is liquid at the lowest temperature (-268.93 °C).
    • Helium cannot be converted into a solid state at normal pressure, not even at absolute zero (minus 273.15 °C).
    • To convert helium into a solid state, a pressure of 337.92 PSI (23.298 bar) is maintained in addition to a temperature of minus 273.15 °C.
    • Helium remains in liquid state at minus 271 degree Celsius, but at this temperature it has some strange properties. Helium at temperatures above minus 271 °C is called helium and at temperatures below that it is called helium 2.
    • At minus 271 °C, the viscosity of helium becomes zero and it becomes a superfluid. Superfluid is such a quality in which if a substance is set in motion, it can remain in motion indefinitely.
    • At minus 271 °C, the thermal conductivity of helium increases millions of times.

    Uses of Helium Gas

    • Helium is an inert gas and does not dissolve in the blood, so it is used with oxygen in scuba divers' tanks at sea. Helium is used in place of nitrogen to prevent divers from suffering a symptom called nitrogen narcosis.
    • Helium is used to pressurize the liquid fuel tanks of rockets.
    •  Helium is used to cool the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners.
    • Helium is used in supersonic wind tunnels.
    • Helium is used to study superconductivity and to make superconductive magnets.
    • Helium is used as a shielding gas during arc welding.
    • Helium gas is used in flying balloons.
    • Nowadays helium is being used in airships (planes flying with helium).
    • Helium is used to check leaks in pipelines.

    Interesting facts about helium

    • Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen.
    • Helium was first discovered on the Sun.
    • Inside the stars, hydrogen atoms combine to form helium by nuclear fusion, during which a large amount of energy is released, which is the source of the stars' energy.
    • Helium is produced by the decay of radioactive elements found in the earth's crust.
    • Helium is found in very small amounts in the atmosphere, this helium is not bound by the Earth's gravity and continuously dissolves into space.
    • The speed of sound in helium gas is three times more than in normal air.

    Detailed Information on Some other Elements

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