How is Helium extracted at Arc3 Gases

In the news there has been much discussion surrounding the apparent lack of Helium available in Richmond, Virginia and elsewhere around the world. This is a major concern seeing that this gas is applied throughout multiple industries in Richmond, Virginia. Uses for the gas include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Lifting gas – for hot air balloons and smaller leisure balloons
  • Breathing Mixtures – for deep-water diving and medical treatments
  • Welding Gas – utilized as a shielding atmosphere

Helium is a result of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most volume of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like Arc3 Gases will obtain Helium via natural gas. There are also limited amounts of helium in the air which can also be extracted, however the process for that is expensive and rarely used.

Typically helium is separated from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then travels through a sieve. Throughout the entire progression, helium is separated from natural gas so that only crude helium remains. At this point, since the crude helium is only about 50% pure, increased purification processes are required.

The crude helium is then diminished to -315 degrees Fahrenheit so that any residual nitrogen or methane gases become liquefied and can be easily drained from the gas. The heat on the helium is then turned up and oxygen is added to the gas so that any remaining particles of hydrogen will mix with the oxygen creating water. Once the water vapors are formed, the mixture is decreased and the water is drained from the mixture.

Once the water has been removed, the Helium is poured into vessels filled with tiny particles for additional sanitization of the gas (think of the carbon water filters in most homes in Richmond, Virginia today). This activity is repeated until the Helium is 99.99% pure specialty gas.

We at Arc3 Gases take this filtering process very serious as multiple industries, from the healthcare industry to the food & beverage industry, rely on our specialty gases for the best possible experience.

To learn more on how your company can get the most genuine Helium in Richmond, Virginia, contact Arc3 Gases today.