Question about the helium shortage

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

  1. DuneFan

    DuneFan Active Member
    SuperFanatic SuperFanatic T2

    Nov 7, 2015
    272
    57
    28
    Ratings:
    +310 / 42 / -12
    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

    Jan 19, 2010
    31,618
    4,318
    113
    Male
    Brooklyn Park, MN
    Ratings:
    +14,515 / 214 / -1
    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. ;)
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. Mr Janny

    Mr Janny Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
    Staff Member Bookie SuperFanatic

    Mar 27, 2006
    33,111
    3,009
    113
    Ratings:
    +10,530 / 293 / -0
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. enisthemenace

    enisthemenace Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    7,343
    608
    113
    Runnells, IA
    Ratings:
    +1,647 / 41 / -0
    I can’t be the only one who was waiting for him to burn the house down.
     
    • Agree Agree x 8
  5. Mr Janny

    Mr Janny Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
    Staff Member Bookie SuperFanatic

    Mar 27, 2006
    33,111
    3,009
    113
    Ratings:
    +10,530 / 293 / -0
    Yeah, he doesn't seem too bright
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. NorthCyd

    NorthCyd Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    6,650
    803
    113
    Ratings:
    +3,840 / 102 / -1
    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
    SuperFanatic

    Jan 2, 2010
    6,145
    624
    113
    Ratings:
    +2,305 / 57 / -0
    That might have been the worst "informative" YouTube video I've ever seen.
     
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. brianhos

    brianhos Moderator
    Staff Member Bookie

    Jun 1, 2006
    44,692
    1,702
    113
    Computer geek
    Trenchtown
    Ratings:
    +7,260 / 436 / -6
    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.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  9. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member
    SuperFanatic

    Jan 13, 2010
    18,176
    1,187
    113
    Male
    Ratings:
    +11,619 / 2,617 / -1,460
    #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
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  10. SpokaneCY

    SpokaneCY Well-Known Member
    SuperFanatic SuperFanatic T2

    Apr 11, 2006
    10,461
    1,260
    113
    Male
    Manager of Natural Gas
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings:
    +5,447 / 276 / -7
    You will be able to yell "help me I'm burning" in a funny voice if something happened though.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Funny Funny x 3
  11. SpokaneCY

    SpokaneCY Well-Known Member
    SuperFanatic SuperFanatic T2

    Apr 11, 2006
    10,461
    1,260
    113
    Male
    Manager of Natural Gas
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings:
    +5,447 / 276 / -7
    That's why the world floats! Sans helium, I shudder to think of our existence in this universe.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  12. Entropy

    Entropy Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    2,608
    1,104
    113
    Male
    Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Ratings:
    +3,310 / 14 / -0
    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.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Entropy

    Entropy Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    2,608
    1,104
    113
    Male
    Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Ratings:
    +3,310 / 14 / -0
    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

    Jul 17, 2008
    895
    109
    43
    Male
    Pilot
    Crescent, IA
    Ratings:
    +594 / 52 / -2
    Like all things, I blame Nebraska and Nebraska alone.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. khardbored

    khardbored Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    5,745
    950
    113
    Middle of the Midwest
    Ratings:
    +3,064 / 52 / -0
    There goes my plan to bring back commercial dirigible travel . . .
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  16. CascadeClone

    CascadeClone Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    3,013
    395
    83
    Ratings:
    +1,604 / 40 / -0
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. TykeClone

    TykeClone Burgermeister!

    Oct 18, 2006
    25,844
    850
    113
    Ratings:
    +2,075 / 42 / -0
    That doesn't seem to be a wise thing to do in an attic...
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. The_Architect

    The_Architect Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    14,199
    997
    113
    Focus Town
    Ratings:
    +3,335 / 80 / -0
    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.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  19. Urbandale2013

    Urbandale2013 Active Member

    Jan 28, 2018
    416
    68
    28
    Male
    Accountant
    Urbandale
    Ratings:
    +597 / 86 / -2
    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.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2

Share This Page