Mankind at all times has been fascinated by everything associated with flying, perhaps partly because of this, even today, balloons are so loved by children and even adults.


Helium balloons: some subtleties The Intelligent Investor
Kids - Entertainment - Fun facts

The fact that the flight of the balloon is responsible gas - helium, everyone knows, but few people know anything more about this fact, but it is very interesting.

A bit of science and history

Helium is a simple monatomic gas without color, odor or taste, it was discovered over 150 years ago in 1868 by French scientist Pierre Janssen. Helium is the second most abundant light gas after hydrogen in the Universe and in the Mendeleev table it is number two, right after hydrogen. This is probably why the first balloons were filled with hydrogen. The balloon needed a gas lighter than air to fly, so the lightest gas number one was used. However, unlike helium, hydrogen is explosive, but 200 years ago this was not considered, especially since the first rubber balloons were expensive and only rarely used on major celebrations. This was true until 1922 when a certain "joker" decided to blow up one of the balloons at a major city festival in the USA, which caused a chain reaction in other balloons. The whole thing ended with numerous burns, including a major official. Since then, hydrogen as a balloon filler has been banned and helium has taken its place.

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Is it harmful to breathe helium?

Almost everyone at least once tried to inhale helium from a balloon, the voice at the same time for a while very much changes, it becomes squeaky, we can say cartoon and incredibly funny. This is due to the fact that helium thins the vocal cords when you breathe in. Hence the question about the possible harm of this action.

In short, a single short breath of helium is harmless but prolonged breathing helium already becomes dangerous, all because the balloon is highly concentrated helium 99.8 % and for normal breathing man needs oxygen content 16-28 %. Thus, when you breathe in, helium replaces oxygen and there is nothing left to breathe.

However, it is difficult to imagine a situation where you will have to breathe only concentrated helium, hence the conclusion that breathing helium is like holding the breath, which means that repeatedly taking such a breath will in fact be akin to repeatedly interrupting the consumption of oxygen, which in turn can lead to dizziness, darkening of the eyes, nausea, and so on.

As for poisoning caused by helium in the organism, it does not cause any poisoning, for instance when deep-sea divers use a mixture of oxygen and helium in which oxygen makes up 20% and helium 80%.