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Guidelines for Helium Leak Testing

Detecting leakages in the industrial is really important to ensure performance and safety. Sometimes, even the most pristine of systems can show the signs of leakages. Leak testing is important to control vacuum or pressure, assure the safety of the product, maintain environmental standards, and achieve pressure efficiency.

Leak Testing involves two major aspects – Leak detection and Leak measurement. Pressure plays a vital role in determining the quantity of the gas leak. Every process needs a different vacuum process. These depend upon the volume of the production. The leaks from 1×10-6 mbar*l/s to 1×10-12 mbar*l/s are detected using a helium molecule.

Use of Helium

Mass spectrometer leak detector (MSLD) is a solution to carry out helium leak testing. The gas is used because it is inert, non-condensable, non-flammable, and non-toxic. Other reasons are that helium is not typically present in the atmosphere, it has a small atomic size. In addition, Helium can pass through leaks, effortlessly. Therefore helium is the first choice for leak testing.

The idea of MSLD was first pioneered in the 1940s during the Manhattan Project. With an aim to test nuclear weapons. The commercial use and sell of helium leak testers were started in 1966. A company from France, Alcatel vacuum group introduced ASM 4.

Methods in Helium Leak Testing 

The procedure of leak testing involves examining the pressure of inner and outer side of the product. Simultaneously, the amount of gas passing through the leakage is also measured. This procedure is carried out by two methods viz. Vacuum Method and Overpressure Method.


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