Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

The coming helium shortage

Where will you be when the world runs out of helium?

It’s surprising how many scientists and nonscientists alike are oblivious of the pending helium shortage. But it is a fact—we will run out of helium. According to the Committee on the Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve, formed from members of the Board on Physics and Astronomy and the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Research Council, the question is when, not if, this will happen. Conservative estimates of the helium remaining indicate that the U.S. private reserves may run out by 2015, assuming the rate of helium consumption stays constant at the 1998 rate (1). Obviously, a continued increase in helium demand could significantly advance the date when the world’s supply becomes critical.

Many people might say that their lives are not greatly influenced by the available helium supply, but the loss of this unique resource is not likely to go unnoticed. Helium, which primarily exists as the 4He isotope, is a gas under standard temperature and pressure conditions. The low density of this gas has uses ranging from circumnavigating the world in a Rozier balloon to upper atmosphere probes to festive party balloons.

Liquid helium displays very unusual properties. Helium becomes liquid when it is cooled below 4.2 K (–269 °C). When cooled to even lower temperatures,

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

The PAH: Defending the Right to Housing in Spain

In Spain, where the government bails out banks, the Platform for People …

Reclaiming a Public Space

Active citizens in West São Paulo have revitalized a square to create …

The Lessons of Amazonian Commons

The ancient western idea of the commons is a quite simple idea that forms …

Gleaning: an Ancient Custom that May Return in the Future

Gleaning is an ancient tradition, deeply embedded in the agricultural world.

Resilience Roundup - July 24

Recession rather than shale gas caused US carbon cuts - study | Study shows …

The Cimmerian Hypothesis, Part Two: A Landscape of Hallucinations

People raised in urban environments come to treat their mental models as …

Powering Community: Talking Resilience with Timothy DenHerder-Thomas

Our whole economy is built on financing things for privatized benefit.