Helium, a chemically inert gas, plays a critical role in a wide array of industries and applications, including MRI scanners, semiconductors, fiber optic cables, scientific research, airbag manufacturing, leak detection and heat/surface treatment and others. Air Liquide supplies this pure specialty gas in many quantities, depending on your needs, from ISO containers to Mini-Mix™ Transportable (non-returnable) cylinders.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
MRI scanners, which are mainly utilized to detect tumors and tissue abnormalities, use liquid helium to cool the large magnet that maintains the extremely low temperatures necessary for the machine to function properly.
Helium is essential to the fiber optics sector. It is used to create the highly purified glass preform from which the fibers are made. Helium is also key to the cooling process and enables high-speed, high-volume production.
Helium is used to pressurize fuel tanks and pipelines in rockets and satellites. The cooling properties of helium ensure that satellites’ complex measuring systems do not overheat.
In the electronics industry, helium is employed for purging, annealing, sputtering, leak checking and etching applications. It is also used for backside temperature control to maintain uniform water temperature during critical deposition processes and cool down tools following high temperature cleaning cycles.
Helium is widely used in the welding industry as an inert shielding gas for arc welding. It is utilized both as a pure gas and in mixtures with argon for TIG or MIG welding. In some applications, helium has an advantage over argon in gas-shielded arc welding because it provides greater arc heat for the same welding currents and arc length. This results in deeper penetration, which is preferable for welding heavier materials that require greater welding speed or when metals of high thermal conductivity are to be welded.
Laboratories and Research
Air Liquide engineers various grades of pure helium under the ALPHAGAZ™ brand. ALPHAGAZ 1 grade of pure helium has a purity of 99.999%. ALPHAGAZ 2 is ultra-pure at 99.9998%, perfect for critical laboratory and analytic applications. Both ALPHAGAZ grades of helium come in compressed gas cylinders equipped with ergonomic open caps and SMARTOP™ valves. Helium in cryogenic liquid form is also available under ALPHAGAZ 1000. It has a purity of 99.999% and is used for applications such as cooling magnets in NMR spectrometers. ScottTM brand helium gas mixtures in nitrogen are available when high accuracy and precision are demanded in your laboratory.
The Helium Services Group at Air Liquide ensures a stable supply of pure helium for use in balloons for festive occasions, meteorology and research. We have a dedicated delivery fleet and customizable delivery services to guarantee your helium supply. Cylinders from Air Liquide come equipped with ergonomic open caps and SMARTOP valves, with quick ON/OFF levers and built-in pressure gauges to minimize product shrinkage. Ancillary equipment designed to safely handle helium is also available, including cylinder carts and cylinder stands.
Helium gas with oxygen in diving tanks prevents the narcotic effect of nitrogen in deep waters. Industries with operations offshore rely on diving gases and breathing mixtures for subsea work.