What is Liquid Helium?
Liquid Helium is non-corrosive, odorless, colorless, inert, inflammable, and extremely cold. Helium does not react with other elements under ordinary conditions. As helium is non-corrosive, special construction materials are not required. However, construction materials should only be used if they are suitable to be used with the extremely low temperatures of liquid helium. Vessels and pipings must be designed and selected to withstand the temperature and pressure that is involved and comply with applicable codes for use and transport.
As liquid helium has an extremely low temperature, it is used to maintain the properties of a super-strong magnet in applications like NMR, MRI, particle physics research, and spectroscopy. The most common use of liquid helium is that it acts as an inert shielding gas in laser welding and metal arc. It gives a protective atmosphere in the production of reactive metals.
What are the health effects of liquid helium?
Liquid HE is tasteless, colorless, odorless and non-irritating therefore it has no warning properties. Human beings do not have the sense to identify the presence of helium in the atmosphere. Though helium is inert and non-toxic, it might act as an asphyxiant by eliminating the oxygen from the air. It can cause the oxygen level to reduce to the level below than what is required to support life. When inhaled in excessive amounts, helium can cause vomiting, nausea, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and in some cases death also. Death can be the result of confusion, loss of consciousness, or errors in judgment that do not let the person rescue. A low concentration of oxygen causes death within seconds and without warning. People should not enter in an area having oxygen concentration levels less than 19.5% unless they are provided with a self-contained breathing apparatus or air-line respirator.
Liquid Helium is becoming a precious commodity and many users of this are now trying to recycle their helium and reuse it in their process in a closed loop. MVS, in partnership with world leaders in this field – Cryomech, USA, offer liquid helium recovery and recycling systems which can save our customers tremendously in the long run.