Helium can be used to detect leaks and prevent contamination. Helium is applied to the suspected leak area and because it’s non-toxic, non-hazardous, inert and has the second smallest molecular size, it easily penetrates even the smallest leaks. Helium leak detection can be used in a variety of applications such as air conditioning and refrigeration units, lamps and lighting tubes, electrical equipment, semiconductor components, automotive parts, lithium battery packs, packaging (food, aerosol), vacuum systems, pressure vessels, gauges, regulators, compressors, and hermetic packaging.
From a safety perspective, leak testing can be used to prevent hazardous gases and liquids from escaping the containment system and entering the work environment. The reverse situation, where external gases or liquids are allowed to enter the containment system is a process integrity reason for leak testing.
Helium for leak testing can also be used for equipment reliability which monitors system leak integrity which helps keep contaminants out. This keeps the system running smoothly by minimizing internal contaminants and related adverse chemical reactions which can lead to system problems and downtime.
Many industries use mass spectrometers and helium to detect small holes or tears in equipment, preventing manufacturing defects from going unnoticed or even stopping impending failures before disaster strikes.