Articles and Applications
Helium is well known as Helium that makes balloons and airships float and in its liquid form, Helium is used in a variety of applications including cooling for magnets in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, cooling infrared detectors, and as a superconductor coolant in the large hadron collider at CERN.
Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, but on Earth it’s relatively rare, found trapped underground with natural gas and in the atmosphere, where it escapes into space.
The majority of laboratories worldwide use gas cylinders to supply their analytical instruments, sample prep systems and other lab applications.
Detailed hydrocarbon analysis (DHA) is a separation technique used by a variety of laboratories involved in the petrochemical industry for analysis and identification of individual components as well as for bulk hydrocarbon characterisation of a particular sample. Bulk analysis looks at gasoline composition in terms of PONA components (Paraffins, Olefins, Naphthalenes and Aromatics) and other fuels in the C1-C13 range since this gives an indication of overall quality of the sample.
Many labs are facing helium supply difficulties and rapid price increases as a result of the helium shortage. Lab managers are therefore looking for alternative carrier gases and for many GC applications, hydrogen provides an excellent alternative to helium. Using a hydrogen generator can supply gas to a whole lab and at the same time remove the danger of storing hydrogen in the lab. Laboratories that switch gas supply from helium to hydrogen can see a number of benefits including reduced overheads, faster throughput and even improved separations.