How is Helium extracted at A-OX Welding Supply

Recently there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the apparent lack of Helium obtainable in Sioux Falls and elsewhere around the world. This causes concern given that this gas is utilized throughout multiple industries in Sioux Falls. Uses for the gas include:

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

Helium is a byproduct of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most amounts of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like A-OX Welding Supply will get Helium via natural gas. There are also trace amounts of helium in the air which can also be extracted, however the process for that is expensive and rarely used.

Usually helium is separated from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then travels through a sieve. During this scrubbing process, helium is separated from natural gas so that only crude helium remains. At this point, since the crude helium is only about 50% pure, more purification processes are warranted.

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

Once the water has been drained, the Helium then goes into vessels filled with tiny particles to further sterilize the gas (think of the carbon water filters in most homes in Sioux Falls today). The process is repeated until the Helium is 99.99% pure specialty gas.

We at A-OX Welding Supply take this filtering process very serious as multiple industries, from the medical 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 best Helium in Sioux Falls, contact A-OX Welding Supply today.