Reducing the hydrogen content in liquid helium


Helium has the lowest boiling point of any element in nature at normal atmospheric pressure. Therefore, any unwanted substance like impurities present in liquid helium will be frozen and will be in solid form. Even if these solid impurities can be easily eliminated by filtering, liquid helium may contain a non negligible quantity of molecular hydrogen. These traces of molecular hydrogen are the cause of a known problem worldwide: the blocking of fine capillary tubes used as flow resistors in helium evaporation cryostats to achieve temperatures below 4.2 K. This problem seriously affects a wide range of cryogenic equipment used in low temperature physics research and leads to a dramatic loss of time and costs due to the high price of helium. Here, we present first the measurement of molecular hydrogen content in helium gas. Three measures to decrease this molecular hydrogen are afterward proposed; (i) improving the helium quality, (ii) release of helium gas in the atmosphere during purge time for the regeneration cycle of the helium liquefier’s internal purifier, and (iii) installation of two catalytic converters in a closed helium circuit. These actions have eliminated all blockages of capillaries at low temperatures now for more than two years.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Switzerland

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error