Leaks are potential hazards and can prove to be fatal if they go unnoticed. So it is very important to test your components for leaks. Various leak testing methods are available for the testing of different components. Companies like Mikro Innotech even make customized leak testing instruments available for you. Leak testing methods are recommended for every industry from the automotive to the pharmaceutical industry. One of the most commonly used methods for leak detection is helium leak testing.
Helium leak detectors are used to locate and measure the size of leaks in a system or a device. These detectors are capable of detecting the smallest leaks that may go unnoticed in other methods. The Helium leak detectors are also known as Mass Spectrometer Leak Detectors (MSLD).
Here we give you an insight into the advanced Helium leak detection technology which can help determine if this method is suitable for your products.
Helium is very effective as a tracer gas because it is non-toxic, non- flammable, non-condensable and inert. Though it is found in abundance in the universe only trace amounts of Helium are found in the atmosphere on Earth. So it is easier to measure the leaked Helium in the detectors. The small atomic size of this element means that it can pass through even extremely small leaks.
What does the spectrometer do?
The spectrometer is the heart of the helium leak detector and is used to measure the rate of flow of the tracer gas. The advanced spectrometers can detect even minute leaks of Helium and convert them to electrical signals proportional to the amount of the leak. The techniques used for detecting leaks through this device are vacuum, pressure or vacuum/pressure procedures.
What are the detection methods?
The test part is connected to the helium leak detector and the tracer gas is applied to the part. Any gas leaking from the work is then measured and compared to the flow rate (maximum allowed leakage). The detection methods differ only in the way helium is introduced to the test part. The three methods are:
- Pressure Testing
In this type of testing the component is pressurized using Helium or a mixture of Helium and air. The potential leak sites are scanned with a sniffer probe that is connected to the inlet of the detector. Pressure testing is usually used to locate the leak on the test part.
- Vacuum Testing
The component is placed in a hermetically sealed chamber for vacuum testing. The test part and the chamber are both evacuated and Helium is introduced solely to the part. The Helium concentration in the chamber is measured after a certain amount of time. Since the chamber is vacuumed, even a small helium leakage changes the air concentration drastically.
- Vacuum/Pressure Testing
Vacuum/Pressure testing is a combination of the vacuum testing and pressure testing process. The test part is pressurized and placed in a vacuumed chamber. The Vacuum/Pressure test examines the overall leak rate of the product.
Helium leak detectors help assure the integrity and quality control of your products and assembly lines. This advanced leak detection technology is ideal for the high demands as well as the precision required in industries such as automobiles and medical devices. The helium leak detectors can also be used for the preventive maintenance of processing tools that are susceptible to occasional leaks.