It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas, the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements.
|Element category||Noble Gas|
|Phase at STP||Gas|
|Ultimate Tensile Strength||N/A|
|Young’s Modulus of Elasticity||N/A|
|Melting Point||-272.2 °C|
|Boiling Point||-268.9 °C|
|Thermal Conductivity||0.1513 W/mK|
|Thermal Expansion Coefficient||— µm/mK|
|Specific Heat||5.193 J/g K|
|Heat of Fusion||0.0138 kJ/mol|
|Heat of Vaporization||0.0845 kJ/mol|
|Electrical resistivity [nanoOhm meter]||—|
|Magnetic Susceptibility||−1.88e-6 cm^3/mol|
Applications of Helium
Helium is used for many purposes that require some of its unique properties, such as its low boiling point, low density, low solubility, high thermal conductivity, or inertness. Of the 2014 world helium total production of about 32 million kg (180 million standard cubic meters) helium per year, the largest use (about 32% of the total in 2014) is in cryogenic applications, most of which involves cooling the superconducting magnets in medical MRI scanners and NMR spectrometers. Most clinical magnets are superconducting magnets, which require liquid helium to keep them very cold.
Production and Price of Helium
Raw materials prices change daily. They are primarily driven by supply, demand and energy prices. In 2019, prices of pure Helium were at around 52 $/kg.
For large-scale use, helium is extracted by fractional distillation from natural gas, which can contain as much as 7% helium. Natural gas contains methane and other hydrocarbons, which are the principal sources of heat energy when natural gas is burned. There are several methods used to upgrade natural gas. When the gas contains more than about 0.4% helium by volume, a cryogenic distillation method is often used in order to recover the helium content. Once the helium has been separated from the natural gas, it undergoes further refining to bring it to 99.99+% purity for commercial use.
Mechanical Properties of Helium
Strength of Helium
In mechanics of materials, the strength of a material is its ability to withstand an applied load without failure or plastic deformation. Strength of materials basically considers the relationship between the external loads applied to a material and the resulting deformation or change in material dimensions. In designing structures and machines, it is important to consider these factors, in order that the material selected will have adequate strength to resist applied loads or forces and retain its original shape. Strength of a material is its ability to withstand this applied load without failure or plastic deformation.
For tensile stress, the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to elongate is known as ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Yield strength or yield stress is the material property defined as the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically whereas yield point is the point where nonlinear (elastic + plastic) deformation begins.
See also: Strength of Materials
Ultimate Tensile Strength of Helium
Ultimate tensile strength of Helium is N/A.
Yield Strength of Helium
Yield strength of Helium is N/A.
Modulus of Elasticity of Helium
The Young’s modulus of elasticity of Helium is N/A.
Hardness of Helium
In materials science, hardness is the ability to withstand surface indentation (localized plastic deformation) and scratching. Brinell hardness test is one of indentation hardness tests, that has been developed for hardness testing. In Brinell tests, a hard, spherical indenter is forced under a specific load into the surface of the metal to be tested.
Brinell hardness of Helium is approximately N/A.
The Vickers hardness test method was developed by Robert L. Smith and George E. Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials. The Vickers hardness test method can be also used as a microhardness test method, which is mostly used for small parts, thin sections, or case depth work.
Vickers hardness of Helium is approximately N/A.
Scratch hardness is the measure of how resistant a sample is to permanent plastic deformation due to friction from a sharp object. The most common scale for this qualitative test is Mohs scale, which is used in mineralogy. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly.
Helium is has a hardness of approximately N/A.
See also: Hardness of Materials
Helium – Crystal Structure
A possible crystal structure of Helium is hexagonal close-packed structure.
In metals, and in many other solids, the atoms are arranged in regular arrays called crystals. A crystal lattice is a repeating pattern of mathematical points that extends throughout space. The forces of chemical bonding causes this repetition. It is this repeated pattern which control properties like strength, ductility, density, conductivity (property of conducting or transmitting heat, electricity, etc.), and shape. There are 14 general types of such patterns known as Bravais lattices.
See also: Crystal Structure of Materials
Thermal Properties of Helium
Helium – Melting Point and Boiling Point
Melting point of Helium is -272.2°C.
Boiling point of Helium is -268.9°C.
Note that, these points are associated with the standard atmospheric pressure.
Helium – Thermal Conductivity
Thermal conductivity of Helium is 0.1513 W/(m·K).
The heat transfer characteristics of a solid material are measured by a property called the thermal conductivity, k (or λ), measured in W/m.K. It is a measure of a substance’s ability to transfer heat through a material by conduction. Note that Fourier’s law applies for all matter, regardless of its state (solid, liquid, or gas), therefore, it is also defined for liquids and gases.
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion of Helium
Linear thermal expansion coefficient of Helium is — µm/(m·K)
Thermal expansion is generally the tendency of matter to change its dimensions in response to a change in temperature. It is usually expressed as a fractional change in length or volume per unit temperature change.
Helium – Specific Heat, Latent Heat of Fusion, Latent Heat of Vaporization
Specific heat of Helium is 5.193 J/g K.
Heat capacity is an extensive property of matter, meaning it is proportional to the size of the system. Heat capacity C has the unit of energy per degree or energy per kelvin. When expressing the same phenomenon as an intensive property, the heat capacity is divided by the amount of substance, mass, or volume, thus the quantity is independent of the size or extent of the sample.
Latent Heat of Fusion of Helium is 0.0138 kJ/mol.
Latent Heat of Vaporization of Helium is 0.0845 kJ/mol.
Latent heat is the amount of heat added to or removed from a substance to produce a change in phase. This energy breaks down the intermolecular attractive forces, and also must provide the energy necessary to expand the gas (the pΔV work). When latent heat is added, no temperature change occurs. The enthalpy of vaporization is a function of the pressure at which that transformation takes place.
Helium – Electrical Resistivity – Magnetic Susceptibility
Electrical property refers to the response of a material to an applied electric field. One of the principal characteristics of materials is their ability (or lack of ability) to conduct electrical current. Indeed, materials are classified by this property, that is, they are divided into conductors, semiconductors, and nonconductors.
See also: Electrical Properties
Magnetic property refers to the response of a material to an applied magnetic field. The macroscopic magnetic properties of a material are a consequence of interactions between an external magnetic field and the magnetic dipole moments of the constituent atoms. Different materials react to the application of magnetic field differently.
See also: Magnetic Properties
Electrical Resistivity of Helium
Electrical resistivity of Helium is — nΩ⋅m.
Electrical conductivity and its converse, electrical resistivity, is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how Helium conducts the flow of electric current. Electrical conductivity or specific conductance is the reciprocal of electrical resistivity.
Magnetic Susceptibility of Helium
Magnetic susceptibility of Helium is −1.88e-6 cm^3/mol.
In electromagnetism, magnetic susceptibility is the measure of the magnetization of a substance. Magnetic susceptibility is a dimensionless proportionality factor that indicates the degree of magnetization of Helium in response to an applied magnetic field.
Application and prices of other elements