An inert, monatomic gas that is non-flammable, colourless, odourless, tasteless, and has a boiling point of -452.07°F (-268.93°C), lowest of any element on earth.
Helium’s atomic size makes it ideal for leak detection.
Liquid helium is used as a coolant for superconductor magnets in MRI machines and particle accelerators due to its ultra-low boiling temperature. This property also makes it the ideal refrigerant in cryogenics research and as a coolant for nuclear reactors.
Helium also plays a critical role in the manufacture of high capacity hard drives, barcode readers, computer chips, semiconductors, LCD panels and fibre optic cable.
Helium-filled high capacity hard drives increase capacity by 50% and energy efficiency by 23% and are used to power industry’s largest data centres including Netflix Video Streaming and Amazon.
There is no substitute in most high-tech coolant applications.
Helium is non-flammable and lighter than air with a lifting capacity of 0.064 lb/ft3 (1.02 kg/m3).
Helium’s inert nature and thermal properties make it irreplaceable to purge gas in rocket engine systems.
Lockheed Martin has signed its first contract for its hybrid helium airship. Straightline Aviation (SLA) has signed a letter of intent to purchase 12 of the airships that measure nearly a football field long for $480 million. A number of other manufactures are also working on airships for global supply and logistics.
More than half the world is still without internet access. Google’s Project Loon aims to fix this through a network of helium-filled balloons traveling on the edge of space.