Helium Leak Detection Services - Try It Yourself

Symbol: He

Atomic Mass: 4.002602 u ± 0.000002 u

Atomic Number: 2

Electrons per shell: 2

Electron Configuration: 1s2

Helium as the best tracer gas for leak detection purposes

HELIUM or “HELIOS” - The name comes form Ancient Greek, meaning the “SUN”, since it was first detected in the Sun’s corona and discovered in 1895 by Sir William Ramsay in London, and then, independently, by Per Teodor Cleve and Nils Abraham Langlet in Uppsala, Sweden.

Helium is a chemical element with a symbol "He” and the atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas, taking the first place in the noble gas group in Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Elements and having the lowest boiling point among all elements.

Based on its physical and chemical properties, Helium is simply the best tracer gas to detect, pinpoint and quantify leaks for a number of practical and safety reasons, since it is a non-explosive and non-combustible gas, not normally presented in the atmosphere at more than trace amounts in a range of 5 ppm.

There is another reason to consider Helium as the best tracer gas specifically for leak detection purposes - due to its small atomic/physical size (only a molecule of Hydrogen is smaller than Helium, however Hydrogen is not inert), the molecule of He is capable of penetrating/passing through the smallest leaks, created by some defects of materials, porosity, heat expansion processes, poorly maintained installations - sealing, valving, piping, flanged connections and welded joints, etc… and then be detected by a Mass Spectrometer.

Brief – it is difficult to overvalue the importance of HLD for the Automotive Industry – for testing the integrity of the fuel and break lines, climate control assemblies, vacuum modules, cast aluminum wheel rims, etc…

A Helium Leak Detector, also known as a Mass Spectrometer Leak Detector (MSLD), is designed to locate and measure the size of leaks, operating in a vacuum or in a sniffer mode – the tracer gas, Helium, could be introduced to the systems internals and then be detected through the leaks from outside by a sniffer; or all the suspicious spots could be sprayed with Helium from outside to detect the leaks by the mass spectrometer, connected directly to the system being tested and kept under vacuum…

A typical Helium Leak Detector consists of the following components:

· A spectrometer/filament to detect the mass/molecules of the Helium tracer gas
· A portable vacuum system to maintain vacuum in the spectrometers internal compartments
· A mechanical pump to evacuate the system being tested, if/when necessary
· Instrumentation to enable various stages of detection modes - evacuation, test, and the venting regimes of operation.
· Control & readout to monitor all processes
· Power supply block
· External/digital control and an external sniffer line

Keeping the highest quality standards, for all your leak detection projects/needs we propose the Model PHOENIX L 300 Leak Detector by Leybold/Inficon - a portable multipurpose Helium Leak Detector, well suited to both – field services and series production testing; providing the lowest helium leak rate as of
< 1 x 10-7 mbar x l x s-1 in a sniffer mode and
< 5 x 10-12 mbar x l x s-1 in a vacuum mode.

Typical Helium Leak Detection Applications:

- Quality assurance – various applications
- Automotive industry – climate control systems, brake, fuel & hydraulic lines, etc…
- Analytical instruments – electron microscopes, mass-spectrometry, measuring devices
- Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries – hospital vacuum lines, medical & pharmacy devices
- System manufacturing – gas-handling systems, gas facilities, pressure & vacuum vessels
- Power station engineering – heat exchangers, condensers, and storage tanks
- Thin film coating industry – vacuum coaters and electron beam/ion beam process equipment
- Research and development – various applications
- Semiconductor industry and laser process equipment
- High vacuum and ultra-high vacuum engineering
- Industrial series production
- Refrigeration, air conditioning, food processing (vacuum packaging) and General industries

For instance, in case of a leaking vacuum meat packager, HLD inspection could be extremely helpful to increase the system performance by eliminating the leaks and thus reducing the package cycling time – these preventative measures will definitely allow us to save a great deal of production time and money …

It is perfectly understood that the industrial process tools that use vacuum systems or pressure systems must be periodically tested to check for occasional leaks. This can be a part of a preventative maintenance – a series of actions to prevent an unexpected equipment failure and interruption of critical production processes.

In terms of all the listed above applications we would gladly consider implementation of a Preventative Maintenance Plan to monitor the systems integrity and all primary sources of leaks – please call us to discuss your customized Preventative Maintenance Plan in detail at your earliest convenience - we always look forward to be of service.