Is helium flammable? The short answer is no, but why are we so confused with the concept that helium balloons are flammable? The answer to this question is still quite confusing, especially when we watch videos on social media in which random floating balloons in the air suddenly catch fire.
People are curious to know the reason, and most of them believe that it was helium in those balloons that caused the fire.
But it is not more than a bogus notion. Helium is never combustible. Rather it is used as a cooling agent when there is a sudden fire at any working place or vacant.
In this article, we are going to have a detailed discussion on it so that we can conclude best at the end with some reasoning to believe on those ideas or not.
Is Helium Gas Flammable?
For most of the time, helium reserves are taken as mistakenly because of the wrong notion which is associated with them.
Many people associate it with several incidences that have happened, such as catching fire by the balloons of a sudden.
But the fact is that helium itself is highly safe to use. It is a non-flammable gas that is used to fill into balloons.
Also, it is highly stable and will not react with any other element to cause fire or any other explosion. Another great thing about Helium is that it has one of the lowest boiling temperature. It also has the lowest melting point. And in very extreme conditions, it remains unable to exist as a gas. So there are no chances that it can cause a fire.
Why Is Helium Mistaken As Flammable?
Balloons filled with helium gas are often considered as dangerous. A certain birthday party and people faced an explosion of fire via balloons.
And it is not about one event, there are several events where the same was observed, and then everybody thought it was a helium explosion.
In reality, helium is never explosive rather a very stable or inert gas.
A balloon floats in the air because helium gas is less dense than the air. So a less dense gas can easily use for this purpose, especially when it is an inert gas.
But helium is also an expensive gas. Even its small quantity which is filled in those gases can cost much so as an alternative, and people use hydrogen as a replacement for helium.
Also, hydrogen is even lighter than helium, so that balloons will float more in the air. Unfortunately, our street vendors do not know much about the severity of the risk, and they just consume it.
Also, buyers do not find an opportunity to know that whether balloons are filled with hydrogen or helium.
All of the scenarios and then happening incidence together form a notion that helium is highly flammable and can cause a high risk of damage.
What Is Helium?
Helium is a chemical element that is denoted by the symbol He, and its atomic number is 2.
It is an odorless, colorless, non-toxic, inert gas. In the periodic table, it is placed at the old of the noble gases row.
It has the lowest boiling and melting point as compared to any other element. It is the second most abundant and lightest gas in the whole universe.
Similarly, it is also most abundant in Sun or Jupiter. It is because of the fact that it has high nuclear binding energy.
In the universe, most of the helium is present in the form of helium-4, and the vast quantity of it was formed at the creation of the universe.
The happening of huge explosion known as the big bang placed a root for the creation of the rest of the universe via providing different elements, and helium was the most abundant among all.
Initially, it was detected as a yellow line spectral in solar radiations during a solar eclipse. It is also present in the form of liquid as liquid helium and is used in cryogenics. It is present at about 5.5 ppm in the atmosphere.
And most of the terrestrial helium is produced as the result of radioactive decay. It has a highly simple structure in which only two electrons surround a single nucleus.
Helium supply is valuable in the ship with helium, helium for celebrations, safety kit military airship, etc.
Where Is Helium Found?
Helium takes the second place as the most available gas in space. Despite being most abundant in the atmosphere of the earth, it is only present in 0.0005 present.
There is a small amount of valuable helium in radioactive minerals, such as in meteoric iron or mineral spring.
As compared to this proportion, a large volume is present in the natural gas, which is 7.6 percent. Hence, it is used in various chemical processes such as in rocket engines, helium airships, etc.
Is Helium Explosive?
No, helium is never explosive. Rather it is a highly stable and inert gas as compared to any other.
Hydrogen is highly flammable, and if used in balloons, then it can cause an explosion.
For this purpose, it is highly recommended to avoid its use in balloons. Rather it should be filled with helium gas as a replacement.
Is Helium Gas Dangerous?
No, helium is not dangerous. It is a highly stable or inert gas. It is safer to use balloons to prevent the harm of explosion.
But it can give you serious outcomes if you try to inhale pure helium. Just within a few minutes, you can die because of asphyxiation. If you are in pressurized
helium tanks and continually inhaling it, then there may be the formation of the gas bubble that can trap in your blood vessels and block at the end.
Breath of helium will enter your lungs and will force your lungs to rupture helium gas tanks. So for the next time when you will think about its severity, just keep one thing in your mind that it is highly safer to use for several purposes but can be life-taking if you inhale it.
Hydrogen Gas In Balloons Causes Flames
Hydrogen gas is highly flammable, especially when you will not handle it properly. It is colorless, odorless, or tasteless.
Helium gas is mostly used in balloons, but as it is expensive, so we use hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas is highly flammable and it can cause a huge explosion. We have witnessed or observed several incidences in which several children died due to the incidence.
There was an explosion due to the gas present in air balloons. The same hydrogen gas is used in them for the sake of being cheap as compared to helium.
Conclusion – Is Helium Flammable
Is helium flammable? No, it is not. We had a detailed discussion about cracking the notion that helium gas can cause explosions in the balloons.
This notion became in the air after experiencing various incidences in which people died. A sudden explosion was due to hydrogen gas rather than helium.
Helium is a highly stable and inert gas and can never cause an explosion. Rather it is used as a cooling agent for reducing fire at several incidences.
Due to its unique qualities, it is highly expensive compared to hydrogen. There may be a helium shortage in the supply of helium. As a result, people use hydrogen balloons in party balloons as a replacement for reducing expenses.
You should be aware of these facts, and for the next time when you are going to buy air, balloons make sure that they should be filled with helium gas particularly.