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He (Helium) in short supply.

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by amusicsite, 30 May 2012.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  2. rusky

    rusky Staff Member

    There was an article about it on the radio a while ago, apparently, the helium that's used for party balloons is recycled & not pure.

    It's also used in scuba tanks.
     
  3. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Recycled from what?
     
  4. rusky

    rusky Staff Member

  5. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

    I never much liked the helium party balloons - I was given one earlier this year and the blooming thing was so well sealed it took weeks to go down. Didn't have the heart to manually deflate it!

    It does rather look like the party balloon will revert to the good old air filled variety that you can play slow motion footie / tennis with. :cool:
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  6. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Veteran Geek

    Location:
    Reading
    I've heard something like this before. I think I read there was only one source of helium in the world and that was in America. I am not sure that is true. It does not sound very plausible. I suppose we could always make helium if we ever get fusion working, but not in very great quantities. It is interesting what the link says about the moon. I saw a science programme that said there was a lot of the helium3 isotope on the moon. The scientist said helium3 could be used for nuclear fusion, and no one could complain about the environmental damage caused by mining on the moon (I'm not sure, I bet Donald Trump could). I am pretty sure the boffins use two isotopes of hydrogen for their fusion experiements: deuterium and tritium. Deuterium is naturally occuring but tritium has to be made from lithium. Lithium is not that commonplace neither. Presumably helium3 could take place of the tritium.
     
  7. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Apparently most of the helium on this planet has come from nuclear reactions but you can also extract it from natural gas. America built up a huge stock pile betting on airships being the future. Then came along the aeroplane but America kept hold of their tanks. A few years ago they decided to sell off the stocks and make a bit of cash. So what they are talking about is the stock pile safety net is going fast and the surplus from dwindling all that excess has got the world dependant on more helium than we can sustainably produce here on Earth.

    All is not lost, the moon is full of the stuff that has been deposited there by the solar wind :)

    Just need the price of helium to go up enough to warrant deep moon mining and the ships will be flooding off planet. It's going to come more and more as we expand and consume more. The only long term solution is near earth mining of anything floating by or in the moon. I guess starting on the other side so you don't piss off the humans :p:

    http://www.space.com/15395-asteroid-mining-planetary-resources.html They are already starting to work on it. Which would make it cheaper to build one of these too http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/01/final-frontier-starship-enterprise-plan :whistling:
     
  8. Jonathing

    Jonathing New Geek

    Every now and again someone brings a partially deflated party balloon in to work and gives it to the MRI staff for their scanner. (MRI magnets are super-cooled using helium) Because that's the sort of humour you get in x-ray departments.
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  9. Zye-Rouges

    Zye-Rouges Member Geek

    Location:
    CT
    I believe new methods of recovering helium will be a competitive field in the future; that it will become so important, no theory will go untried. Helium's unique properties may make reversible cryonics possible.
    I'm starting a thread on cyonics -- interested peeps welcome.