Helium running out!

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by John Connellan, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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  3. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Guess what?
     
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  7. Roman Banned Banned

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    As the price goes up, consumption will go down and people will stop being so wasteful with it.
     
  8. Absane Rocket Surgeon Valued Senior Member

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    The same goes for oil... people fear that we'll run out (LIKE zOMG NOoooOOO...). However, we'll price ourselves out of the market well before we run out.
     
  9. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Agree.

    Someone will invent stiff balloon string and the problem will be solved.
     
  10. Enmos Staff Member

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    Yea, but what's the difference.
     
  11. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    They already have haven't they?

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  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    We could always use hydrogen in balloons :jason:

    I once did a calculation on another forum that advocated research into cheap fusion, that if we were to replace all of our present electricity energy usage with p+B11 fusion, it would produce only enough waste helium to replace ~10% of helium usage. So even if we get nuclear fusion reactors they will not produce enough waste helium to fill our needs.
     
  13. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    How about tiny little hot-air baloons that run off a cheapo cigarette lighter that's left on? I mean, seriously, what could go wrong!

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  14. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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  16. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Oh. I thought that's what the fire was for.
     
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Hydogen fill party ballons are reasonably safe, as long as their is no air mix with the hydrogen it burns rather relatively slowly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQvpK9cl0No

    Mix air or oxygen and you got a very loud bomb, but note it still ignited inside high school science classrooms all over the USA:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEIkIdaBuIk

    So if figure we could replace all party balloons with hydrogen instead of helium and experience only a tiny increase in fire related accidents.
     
  18. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Seriously guys, I don't think they were worrying about filling balloons when they said the helium was running out

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    The big difference between He and H is that H is far too reactive for most of the industrial uses of helium.
     
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I'm very aware of that, I just figure recreation usage of helium is something we can cut out very easily. Now getting a GC to recycle its helium, a lot harder to do.
     
  20. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    This isn't about party balloons?

    Then what is everyone so worked up over?
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Imagine if we used oil to both power cars and also to light our lawns on fire on occasions for the fun of it, now if oil prices go up what do you think will be the first to go: driving or lighting our lawns on fire?

    I'm just saying a percentage of helium use is in fact replaceable, party ballons just being one example, another would be superconductors using "high temperature" superconductors which would be cooled with liquid N2 or H2 instead of liquid He.
     
  22. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Helium is precious stuff, because it is the most inert element imaginable so if you tried to, say, vacuum weld two metals together you can use helium instead of trying to create ultra-high vacuum conditions, which actually consumes a lot of energy.

    Helium depletion should be regarded seriously. What other sources could the gas come from? The sun and gas giant planets have tons of the stuff. There should be a way to design a method to extract the element from those extreterrestrial bodies, but doing it in their immense gravitational field is daunting. We already have enough challenges building a space elevator on earth!
     
  23. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    I really don't think we are going to get rid of birthday parties before we stop playing around with superconductors. Nobody even knows what a superconductor is, but we all average right around one birthday per year!
     

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