Understanding the Theory, Applications, and Techniques of Leak Detection

When we consider the effects of our current industrialized lifestyle on the environment, terms like global warming, climate change, and the greenhouse effect come to mind. That's why governments are tightening the rules on pollution that industrial firms must follow. There has to be a reduction in the release of toxic gasses, liquids, and the negative effects of refrigerants, waste gasses, and propellants. In light of this, industry specifications for the leak-tightness of components have progressively increased over the last several years.

While firms can only fulfill leak tightness criteria by using a range of leak detection techniques, leak tightness testing, also known as leak detection, is essential. Sometimes just identifying the presence of a leak using a qualitative test is enough. Yet, determining the leak rate is crucial if meeting stringent quality standards and the demands of individual clients is a priority. Leak detection techniques, such as sniffer and tracer gasses (typically with helium), and pressure drop and rise procedures, are the only methods adequate to give quantitative verification of leaks. Most commercially available integrated leak detectors have a sniffer probe, allowing the user to choose between the vacuum and sniffer detection techniques.

The Use of Mass Spectrometer Helium Leak Detectors as the Standard Practice

Leak tightness criteria for gas or fluid-carrying components have increased in response to more stringent laws meant to prevent emissions and undesirable environmental consequences, such as those caused by gasoline, hydraulic or transmission oil, or refrigerant, escaping into the atmosphere. There are several different test techniques available, depending on the leak tightness requirement. There are also many Leak Testing Standards utilized in the United States, including ASTM, ISO, EPA, Mil-Std, Semi, IAEA, DOE, US National Labs, and NASA. These standards define the various testing methods, the implementations of the practices, operator training and qualification guidelines, calibration requirements, and in some cases specific NTE helium leak rates.

The maximum allowable leak rate, the cycle duration, the shape, and the size of the test specimen are all examples of such conditions.

The use of helium as a tracer gas in leak detection has become more common in recent years. This approach can measure and locate even the tiniest leaks, making it superior to current detection methods. It facilitates the speedy remediation of leaks. Also, it is possible to alter the geometry and enhance manufacturing processes and workflows. It's a win-win because you get better results and less waste from manufacturing and testing processes. Most modern tracer gas leak detectors also function as vacuum leak detectors and/or sniffers.

Why is Helium Used as the Tracer Gas?

Helium is present in the atmosphere at a naturally low quantity of 5 parts per million, at sea level. Hence, the fraction of helium in the background during sniffer testing is so low that very sensitive measurements are still achievable.

Benefits of Using Helium as a Tracer Gas

  • Due to its microscopic size, helium may easily enter via fissures such as hairpin fractures.
  • Including helium allows for a broad sensitivity range, from 10E-1 to 10E-12 atm. cc/sec. helium. (Mass 4)
  • Mass spectrometry is a highly selective and sensitive detection tool.
  • Quick response times and high test specimen throughput lower testing expenses.
  • Helium is an inert gas that does not react chemically with other things; it is non-toxic, ecologically benign, and permitted as a food and drug ingredient.
  • It provides accurate, consistent, and reproducible leak detection.

Vacuum Pump Repair USA is Here for You!

As you can see, helium leak detection is crucial to keep up with safety and regulation standards in the vacuum world. Our company is committed to providing the best vacuum pump service to ensure your equipment works at peak performance.

We have specialized in Mass Spectrometer Helium Leak Detector (MSHLD) repair and service since 1969. We repair all major brands of leak detectors sent in from all over the United States and Canada. We will repair your equipment to meet or exceed OEM specifications, covered with our exclusive One-Year Warranty. Contact us for more information!

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