HowStuffWorks "How is helium made?"


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** How is helium made? **

If you put helium in a balloon and let go of the balloon, the balloon rises
until it pops. When it pops, the helium that escapes has no reason to stop
-- it just keeps going and leaks out into space. Therefore, there is very
little helium in the atmosphere at any given time.

The helium that is in the atmosphere comes from alpha particles emitted by
*radioactive decay* (see How Nuclear Radiation Works for details on alpha
decay). In places that have a lot of uranium ore, *natural gas* tends to
contain high concentrations of helium (up to 7 percent). This makes sense,
since the decay of uranium emits lots of alpha particles and a natural gas
pocket tends to be a sealed container underground.

Helium is cryogenically distilled out of natural gas to produce the helium
we put in balloons.

Here are some interesting links:

· How Helium Balloons Work
· Would a balloon filled with


how is helium made

Helium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** Helium **

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the chemical element. For other uses, see Helium
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Ne Hydrogen (other non-metal) Helium (noble gas)Lithium (alkali
metal) Beryllium (alkaline earth metal) Boron (metalloid) Carbon (other
non-metal) Nitrogen (other non-metal) Oxygen (other
non-metal) Fluorine (halogen) Neon (noble gas)Sodium (alkali
metal) Magnesium (alkaline earth metal) Aluminium (post-transition
metal) Silicon (metalloid) Phosphorus (other non-metal) Sulfur (other
non-metal) Chlorine (halogen) Argon (noble gas)Potassium (alkali
metal) Calcium (alkaline earth metal) Scandium (transition
metal) Titanium (transition metal) Vanadium (transition
metal) Chromium (transition metal) Manganese (transition
metal) Iron (transition metal) Cobalt (transition
metal) Nickel (transition metal) Copper (transition
metal) Zinc (transition metal) Gallium (post-transition
metal) Germanium (metalloid) Arsenic (metalloid) Selenium (other
non-metal) Bromine (halogen) Krypton (noble gas)Rubidium (alkali
metal) Strontium (alkaline earth metal) Yttrium (transition
metal) Zirconium (transition metal) Niobium (transition
metal) Molybdenum (transition metal) Technetium (transition
metal) Ruthenium (transition metal) Rhodium (transition
metal) Palladium (transition metal) Silver (transition
metal) Cadmium (transition metal) Indium (post-transition
metal) Tin (post-transition
metal) Antimony (metalloid) Tellurium (metalloid) Iodine (halogen) Xenon (noble
gas)Caesium (alkali metal) Barium (alkaline earth
metal) Lanthanum (lanthanoid) Cerium (lanthanoid) Praseodymium (lanthanoid) Neodymium (lanthanoid) Promethium (lanthanoid) Samarium (lanthanoid) Europium (lanthanoid) Gadolinium (lanthanoid) Terbium (lanthanoid) Dysprosium (lanthanoid) Holmium (lanthanoid) Erbium (lanthanoid) Thulium (lanthanoid) Ytterbium (lanthanoid) Lutetium (lanthanoid) Hafnium (transition
metal) Tantalum (transition metal) Tungsten (transition
metal) Rhenium (transition metal) Osmium (transition
metal) Iridium (transition metal) Platinum (transition
metal) Gold (transition metal) Mercury (transition
metal) Thallium (post-transition metal) Lead (post-transition
metal) Bismuth (post-transition metal) Polonium (post-transition
metal) Astatine (halogen) Radon (noble gas)Francium (alkali
metal) Radium (alkaline earth
metal) Actinium (actinoid) Thorium (actinoid) Protactinium (actinoid) Uranium (actinoid) Neptunium (actinoid) Plutonium (actinoid) Americium (actinoid) Curium (actinoid) Berkelium (actinoid) Californium (actinoid) Einsteinium (actinoid) Fermium (actinoid) Mendelevium (actinoid) Nobelium (actinoid) Lawrencium (actinoid) Rutherfordium (transition
metal) Dubnium (transition metal) Seaborgium (transition
metal) Bohrium (transition metal) Hassium (transition
metal) Meitnerium (unknown chemical properties) Darmstadtium (unknown
chemical properties) Roentgenium (unknown chemical
properties) Copernicium (transition metal) Ununtrium (unknown chemical
properties) Flerovium (unknown chemical properties) Ununpentium (unknown
chemical properties) Livermorium (unknown chemical
properties) Ununseptium (unknown chemical properties) Ununoctium (unknown
chemical properties)Periodic table

hydrogen ← **helium** → lithium

colorless gas, exhibiting a red-orange glow when placed in a high-voltage
electric field

Spectral lines of helium
General properties
Name, symbol, number helium, He, 2
Pronunciation /ˈhiːliəm/ /*HEE*-lee-əm/
Element category noble gases
Group, period, block 18 (noble gases), 1, s
Standard atomic weight 4.002602(2)
Electron configuration 1s^2


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