Question about the helium shortage

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by DuneFan, May 11, 2019.

  1. DuneFan

    DuneFan Active Member
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    When I was a freshman at ISU, taking chemistry 101, the instructor demonstrated the explosiveness of hydrogen by lighting a small hydrogen balloon. The resulting bang adequately demonstrated why hydrogen is not a particularly good substitute for helium in party balloons. I have long wondered, could a mix of the two (say, 60/40 helium to hydrogen) be used?
     
  2. VeloClone

    VeloClone Well-Known Member

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    I'm no chemist, but since helium is a noble gas and doesn't readily interact with other gases, I don't think it would change the reactiveness of hydrogen - except for decreasing the power of the boom. ;)
     
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  3. Mr Janny

    Mr Janny Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
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  4. enisthemenace

    enisthemenace Well-Known Member

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    I can’t be the only one who was waiting for him to burn the house down.
     
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  5. Mr Janny

    Mr Janny Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
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    Yeah, he doesn't seem too bright
     
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  6. NorthCyd

    NorthCyd Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure the one with the bang wasnt an oxygen hydrogen mix balloon? I remember my chemistry professor showing hydrogen only and then a hydrogen oxygen mix. Hydrogen was kind of a quick flare up and the hydrogen oxygen mix blew the **** up.
     
  7. Die4Cy

    Die4Cy Well-Known Member
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    That might have been the worst "informative" YouTube video I've ever seen.
     
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  8. brianhos

    brianhos Moderator
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    Helium will not bond with anything (which is why it is so important.) So you will just have a balloon of part explosive hydrogen and some helium.
     
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  9. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member
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    #9 ArgentCy, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    You actually have to mine Helium. Usually they have recovered it with natural gas deposits. The problem is that as soon as Helium is released in the atmosphere is it is light enough it escapes into space. This has been a known problem for a long time with no great solutions. Other than wasting it in balloons is not a great idea
     
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  10. SpokaneCY

    SpokaneCY Well-Known Member
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    You will be able to yell "help me I'm burning" in a funny voice if something happened though.
     
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  11. SpokaneCY

    SpokaneCY Well-Known Member
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    That's why the world floats! Sans helium, I shudder to think of our existence in this universe.
     
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  12. Entropy

    Entropy Well-Known Member

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    Helium also plays a critical role in cooling down large magnets (MRI, NMR, particle accelerators) which is part of the reason why warmer super conductors are needed. I know most of the big research institutions have a helium scavenging process to minimize loss.
     
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  13. Entropy

    Entropy Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much this. It's hard to think about the trillions of atoms floating around and the probability of them running into each other. Even with a diluted hydrogen, it still has a pretty good chance to run into oxygen and reacting.
     
  14. flycy

    flycy Active Member

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    Like all things, I blame Nebraska and Nebraska alone.
     
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  15. khardbored

    khardbored Well-Known Member

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    There goes my plan to bring back commercial dirigible travel . . .
     
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  16. CascadeClone

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  17. TykeClone

    TykeClone Burgermeister!

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    That doesn't seem to be a wise thing to do in an attic...
     
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  18. The_Architect

    The_Architect Well-Known Member

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    It blows my mind helium balloons still exist when there's such a finite supply of helium and how important it is to medical equipment. It's really quite absurd and a fine example human shortsightedness.
     
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  19. Urbandale2013

    Urbandale2013 Active Member

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    Do most people know helium is a finite resource. I didn’t. I tried to read up a little on it and it seems there are possibilities to create new helium. I’m ignorant on the issue though.
     
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