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Helium FAQs

What is the ADR classification of helium? plus minus
  • UN/ID No.: UN 1046
  • Proper shipping name: HELIUM, COMPRESSED
  • Class or Division: 2
  • Tunnel Code: (E)
  • Label(s): 2.2
  • ADR/RID Hazard ID no.: 20
  • Marine Pollutant: No
  • Chemical symbol is He and atomic number 2.
  • Synonyms : Helium, Helium gas, Gaseous helium, Balloon gas
  • REACH Registration Number: Listed in Annex IV / V REACH, exempted from registration.
  • Classification of the substance or mixture Gases under pressure - Compressed gas. H280:Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated.
How does helium prevent divers getting the decompression sickness? plus minus

When air is breathed under pressure, nitrogen dissolves in the blood. When the pressure is relieved, the nitrogen comes out of the solution as bubbles, which affects the circulatory system, causing caisson disease or "the bends". Helium dissolves much less and decompression is quicker.

You need 0.975m3 (or 0.165 kg) of helium to lift 1 kg. So rounded up you need to plan for 1 M3 of helium to lift 1 kg.

Find out more about our Balloonium® gas range: with 50% more gas and lighter cylinders, be careful you don’t get carried away!

Helium is used for leak detection because it's non-toxic, non-hazardous, inert and has the second smallest molecular size, it easily penetrates even the smallest leaks.

Helium leak detection can be used in a variety of applications such as air conditioning and refrigeration units, lamps and lighting tubes; electrical equipment; semiconductor components; automotive parts; lithium battery packs; packaging (food, aerosol); vacuum systems; pressure vessels, gauges, regulators; compressors, and hermetic packaging.

Find out more about about leak detection.

Helium is used by defense, nuclear and aerospace leaders for detecting leaks in critical equipment, including rocket engines, and for purging and propellant transfer. Our proprietary liquid helium pumping technology allows these industries to pressurize large on-site gaseous storage vessels at lower costs, with less energy and at faster rates.

Helium can also be used for purging. Since it has the lowest melting and boiling point of any gas, is inert, and has a low freezing temperature, it is used for purging by displacing very cold liquids such as liquid oxygen or liquid hydrogen safely without freezing.

Find out more about this application by visiting our pressurizing and purging pages.

Ultra-high Pure (UHP) helium contains ultra low levels of oxygen, hydrocarbons and water making it an ideal carrier and makeup gas for many laboratory applications. It minimises column bleed and baseline noise for more accurate analyses.

Find out more about our Experis® Ultra High Purity gases range : purity, accuracy, stability and peace of mind.

Helium is the only gas which boils at 4.2 K in its liquid form which is the temperature required for the superconductive magnet coils.

Find out more by visiting our MRI and NMR pages

In the fiber manufacturing process, helium is essential for cooling fiber as it is being pulled from a furnace and prior to applying protective coatings. Although manufacturer processes vary widely, a typical fiber optic production process uses large quantities of helium.

Find out more by about fiber optic applications.

Helium is used to flood the surface of glass to impact characteristics. After fiber-optic glass is drawn into fine strands, it is shielded with helium while the cladding is applied in order to prevent the newly formed glass surface from reacting with the contaminants present in ambient air.

Find out more about our glass applications.

Helium is the preferred shielding gas for high speed, high power laser welding. Helium has high thermal conductivity, producing welds with an excellent aspect ratio, high ionisation potential, producing excellent plasma suppression and high weld speeds.

Find out more about our Maxx® weld process gases range: improved productivity, fewer rejects and a better working environment

Where is helium produced today? plus minus

Helium can only be found in certain natural gas fields around the world. The main sources are found in the US, Qatar and Algeria. Smaller sources also exist in Australia, Russia and Poland.