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IT’S ELEMENTAL-Helium September 13, 2017

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Elements.
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*Read Disclaimer before continuing.

I am not a chemist. I am not a scientist in any way shape or form. Therefore, do not use this information for anything more than cocktail conversation, because I do not guarantee its veracity. This thread is also posted publicly, where I have had MANY chemist friends make corrections. If you want more information, that may be more correct, I would check there.


Call me a rebel, but today we are going to introduce the Noble gases all the way on the right side of the table. These inert elements brighten our lives- Neon and argon, as examples.

Atomic Number 2- HELIUM.

Who doesn’t love helium? Lighter than air, it fills our party balloons and my favorite: blimps; yes I have a blimp obsession.(If you can hook me up with a ride, I would be forever grateful.)

But more so, helium is necessary to cool the superconducting magnets in medical MRI scanners and NMR spectrometers. It’s also used to pressurize fuel systems for rockets. Because cryogenic temperatures change material characteristics, it’s a standard for scientists working on in new material discovery. It’s those new materials that have given us solar panels and $999 Iphone Xs.
It is the ONLY ELEMENT that will not solidify at atmospheric pressure, no matter how cold it is- even at absolute zero. (–273.15°C, –459.67°F, 0 Kelvin)

What you may not know about helium is that it is in short supply. Without going into the numbers, it’s important to know that the earth has a limited amount of retrievable helium. Some estimates say that we have about 10 years left, if we continue our usage rates. I led a letter writing campaign (about 400 letters) to Congressional leaders when it came time for them to renew the legislation that manages the US Helium Reserve. (little known Betsey fact)

As part of this effort, I spoke to Macy’s Parade organizers, as well. You will be happy to know that they reclaim and recycle their helium.

Personal note: Fetal Sarah’s name was Kelvin. Also, Sarah went with us to a Blimp fly-in at Wright Patterson. She loved them, too!