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The Light, Versatile, and Rare Gas: Helium

Helium is one of the most interesting elements on Earth. As the second lightest gas after hydrogen, it has unique properties that have made it indispensable to modern society. But where does this noble gas come from and how is it obtained?

Where does Helium Come From?

Most of the helium on Earth comes from underground deposits. Helium is formed from the slow radioactive decay of heavy elements like uranium and thoron. Over billions of years, small amounts of helium are released and trapped in certain rock formations. The United States contains large reserves, with huge amounts concentrated in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming. While Qatar has the largest helium reserves standing at 10 billion cubic meters compared to 8.5 billion cubic meters the United States has reserved.

 

How Is Helium Extracted?

Extracting helium from these deposits involves drilling into the rock and pumping out the gas. It's then purified for industrial and commercial use. Helium extraction needs to be done carefully to conserve this limited resource. Some experts have raised concerns about depleted global helium supplies in the next few decades.

What is Helium Used For?

Once extracted, helium has many remarkable uses that depend on its lightweight nature. One major application is filling balloons and blimps for flight. Helium is much safer than hydrogen for inflation since it doesn't burn. Party supplies and decorations often contain helium for floating balloons and helium tanks are a common sight at celebrations. 

Helium also has essential uses in science and medicine due to being inert and having extremely low viscosity. It's utilized as a coolant for MRI machines and in laboratories for purposes like purging gas lines. The low solubility makes helium ideal for pressurizing and cleaning sensitive equipment. Welding, fiber optics, and semiconductor manufacturing also rely on a steady helium supply.

With such a wide range of applications, helium provides significant value to society despite being relatively rare on Earth. Conserving existing reserves and exploring new extraction methods will be important for ensuring adequate helium for the future. This light and versatile gas is sure to remain integral across many industries and uses for years to come.

Helium Supplier for Pennsylvania

Greco Gas is a local supplier of helium in Pennsylvania. We source and provide helium for a plethora of industries including medical, welding, manufacturing, and more. Whether you need helium for MRI cooling, party balloons, weather balloons, lifting gas, or analytical purposes, Greco Gas has you covered with an array of different grades of helium. Visit our helium gas page to learn more about our services.

Our filling services and wide range of helium grades ensure businesses across Pennsylvania have access to this unique gas critical for so many modern applications. Contact us today to discuss your helium needs!

Checkout Bulk Helium availability!