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Helium: Investing in the Loner Element
Posted On 11/29/2017 22:47:32 by chinacryogenics

Found in nature as a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas recovery systems, helium's the least reactive substance in the universe - a loner element that combines with other molecules only in the most extreme conditions. Its low density and boiling point make it ideal for a range of industrial and scientific uses, including:

  • Coolant for superconducting magnets (like those in MRI machines)
  • Protective gas in arc welding and growing silicon wafers
  • Pressurizing rocket fuel for NASA's space shuttle
  • Protecting important historical documents
  • Cooling pumps in nuclear reactors
  • Providing lift for airships and balloons

Fused together from hydrogen atoms in star cores, helium's the second most abundant element in the universe. On Earth, however, it's very rare. Here, only the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium atoms in the Earth's mantle can produce helium - a time-consuming process that generates just 3.4 liters per kilometer of earth per year.

This helium-as-radioactive-by-product collects in natural gas deposits in the Earth's mantle. That means the only way to access our planet's helium stores is to tap into the natural gas purification system first.


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