Helium and Vacuum Leak Detector Applications

Today, many companies depend upon quality vacuum leak detector equipment. It’s important for medical devices, machines, equipment, and all kinds of packaging systems too. Some of the most effective leak detectors use helium and here are some reasons that helium is such a good tool for this process.

Helium Mass Spectrometer

If you have a high vacuum system, helium spectrometers are the preferred choice for leak detection. They are sensitive to even the tiniest of leaks. In fact, they can detect leaks so small; it would take about 30 years or so to lose as little as one cc of gas. These are extremely minute leaks and give you an idea of just how sensitive a mass spectrometer is. In fact, this kind of equipment can detect many types of gasses.

Why Use Helium?

If you’ve ever been to a carnival or fair, you probably saw balloon vendors with their balloons that float up into the air and out of sight, if you let go of their strings. These balloons are filled with helium gas and because helium is lighter than the air you breathe (which contains mostly nitrogen and oxygen) it rises and floats, defying gravity that holds most things to the earth. So why does something so light make good vacuum leak detector equipment?

As helium enters a mass spectrometer (with other gasses), it’s ionized and enters a magnetic field. This alters the ions’ direction of travel according to their mass. Since Helium ions are lighter, they rise and are easily collected separately from heavier ions. Helium is one of the easiest gasses to detect in a system.

Helium is one of the safest gasses to use. It’s not flammable like oxygen or hydrogen. It’s even safe to breathe in low concentrations. These are some of the reasons that the best vacuum leak detector equipment uses helium.

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