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Helium Leakage Test

Last updated: July 19, 2024

What Does Helium Leakage Test Mean?

A helium leakage test is performed with the help of a helium leak detector known as a Mass Spectrometer Leak Detector (MSLD). Helium leakage tests are performed on pipelines, storage tankages and vessels that store chemicals, crude oil, petroleum products or other liquid materials to detect small leaks in these sealed industrial containers. Corrective measures are undertaken when leaks are discovered.

A helium leakage test may also be known as a helium sniff test.


Corrosionpedia Explains Helium Leakage Test

Helium is an excellent tracer material choice for detecting leaks in industrial sealed containers because:

  • It can penetrate through the smallest crack, hole or puncture due to its small atomic size.
  • It is chemically inert, non-flammable and non-toxic.
  • Its presence in the atmosphere at 5 ppm is very minimal.
  • It does not react with metal or any stored material and therefore doesn't cause corrosion or pitting.

In order to conduct a helium leakage test, a detector known as a Mass Spectrometer Leak Detector (MSLD) is used. These leak detectors help measure the size of the leak. The area or the part to be tested is connected to the leak detector and then tracer helium gas is circulated through it. Leaks are detected by a pressure difference. There are two leakage testing methods:

  • Vacuum testing, also called outside-in testing.
  • Pressure testing, also called inside-out testing.

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