Helium leak detection.

February 2023

What is helium leak detection?

Helium leak detection is a process used to find and locate leaks in equipment and systems.

The detection process involves introducing an odourless, colourless, tasteless gas, such as helium, into the system under test to find the leaks. A helium detector is then used to search for the gas that has escaped from the system.

Helium is a light gas, specifically it is the second smallest particle in the periodic table after nitrogen, so it has a great facility to escape through much smaller cracks. If there is a leak in the equipment to be treated, helium escapes along with the product from the system and is easily detected with a helium detector.

This technique is very efficient for locating leaks in systems that are in hard-to-reach or hard-to-access locations, and for finding tiny leaks that would go undetected with other detection methods.

How are leaks detected?

The most common way of working in the detection of leaks with helium is to carry out pressure tests, the pipe or equipment to be inspected is pressurised with helium (or mixed with air depending on the products stored and the volume) and the pressure is maintained for a set time to ensure that there are no leaks throughout the circuit. If leaks are detected, the helium detector can be used to locate the leak and mark it so that it can be repaired.

Helium detectors are mass spectrometers, usually portable, that detect the presence of helium in air. Some helium detectors use gas ionisation sensors, while others use infrared or paramagnetic resonance sensors.

Helium leak detection applications

Gas systems: Helium leak detection is often used to locate leaks in gas systems, such as natural gas or propane gas pipelines, liquefied petroleum gas systems, gas cylinders, and air conditioning systems.

Refrigeration systems: Helium detection is also used for the inspection of refrigeration systems, used in most factories and industrial environments.

Leak testing: Helium is also used to detect leaks and thus test the tightness of some pressure vessels: gas storage tanks, fuel tanks, water tanks, etc.

Why is helium leak detection the best option?

  • Safety: Helium is a harmless, odourless, colourless and tasteless gas. It is non-toxic and has no side effects on humans. It is non-toxic and has no side effects on humans.
    This makes helium leak detection safe and presents no health risks for operators.
  • Scope: Detection is a fast and efficient process. After the process, no drying operation is required.
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency: Helium is perfect for detecting small leaks, located in complicated areas or sections. . In addition, Helium detection is fast and requires few personnel.
    The exact point of the rupture is usually known immediately, even if the gas escapes some time after it has been injected into the equipment.

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