LEGO 3378

Comes only in black for that extra sense of luxury!

It is minifig scale and is 8 stud wide for that extra size and comfort.

Lego 3378

Wont it be nice to have a fleet of these running around your city?

Helium is the second element on the periodic table . To hold these two positively charged protons together against their mutual electrostatic repulsion, the nucleus needs to contain either one or two neutrons as well, increasing the strong nuclear force to a point where it can bind the resulting group of particles together. Helium-4 , with four nuclear particles (two protons and two neutrons), is by far the most common isotope of helium.Both isotopes are stable, neither undergoing any form of natural radioactive decay. The helium nucleus is usually surrounded by two electrons to balance the charge of the two protons, forming a helium atom. The reason for it is that the two electrons bound to a helium nucleus fill up the first available quantum energy level in the electrostatic potential of the nucleus. Any additional electrons are less tightly bound and easier to strip off by chemical processes, but the first two are held in a tight embrace. Physically, helium atoms simply bounce around off one another, forming a gas at almost any temperature you care to name. As a gas, helium is also very low in density (although hydrogen beats it as the least dense gas), and is lighter than air, so tends to rise.

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This property is made use of in helium party balloons and gas-filled airships and blimps . Airships and party balloons however make up only a very small fraction of the usage of helium. The greatest fraction of helium usage is in cryogenic applications, where liquid helium is used to cool equipment which needs to operate at very low temperatures. Such applications include: as a shielding gas in welding, so that the hot welding material doesn’t form undesirable compounds with the atmosphere; as a gas for flushing pipes or pressure vessels of other gases; as a gas atmosphere around growing silicon and germanium crystals produced for semiconductor electronics; and as a mixing gas with oxygen to produce breathing gases for deep sea diving, to remove the dangers of nitrogen narcosis from breathing pressurised nitrogen. Helium also has a very high thermal conductivity and heat capacity for a gas, so is used in other applications where heat properties are important. These include in wind tunnels, refrigeration, and heat transfer for things like cooling nuclear reactors or electronics. Helium’s low density affects the speed of sound, which is about three times higher in helium than in air. This changes the pitch of the resonant frequencies of your voice if you speak while exhaling helium, causing the voice to sound high-pitched and distorted. Some care needs to be taken not to breathe helium repeatedly over a short time, to avoid asphyxia from lack of oxygen. When released into the atmosphere, helium, being less dense than air, migrates upward. Atoms of helium eventually reach the rarefied upper levels of the atmosphere. Being in thermal equilibrium with the rest of the atmosphere, the helium atoms have the same average kinetic energy as the much heavier nitrogen molecules and oxygen molecules (each made up of two atoms of nitrogen or oxygen respectively). So on average helium atoms are travelling almost three times as fast as other constituents of the atmosphere. This is an average of a velocity distribution – there are some high speed nitrogen and oxygen molecules, but there are a lot more high speed helium atoms. Earth’s gravity holds on to our nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere over geological time periods, because very few of the nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the upper atmosphere have enough velocity to escape. So they leak away into interplanetary space. And to maintain the temperature equilibrium as these hot helium atoms leak away, the cooler helium atoms have to warm up to higher speeds, so more of them leak away. It also means that any helium we use which ends up leaked into the atmosphere will be lost to space within a very short time, just a few years. By this time, chemists and physicists had observed that different chemical elements produced characteristic patterns in spectra of visible light. If you shine a light through a gas containing a particular element, that element absorbs light in a very specific set of wavelengths. These wavelengths correspond to colours and form thin, dark bands across the spectrum of the light when it is spread out by a prism. The moon blocking the main disc of the sun gave astronomers the opportunity to observe the corona, or atmosphere of the sun. It showed that there was some helium trapped underground. It took another 13 years until a sample of helium was extracted so that it could be studied.

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He dissolved some of the ore with acids and collected the gas which bubbled off. As well as the argon, he noticed the distinctive yellow spectral line of helium. Earth formed, it coalesced out of our sun’s protoplanetery disc, gathering dust and gas together with its growing gravity. Any helium drawn near would have stayed in the proto-atmosphere, rather than being drawn down underneath the heavier elements, and from there leaked away again quickly to space. Yet today we can find helium in rocks retrieved from underground. The important one now is alpha decay, in which a nucleus ejects an alpha particle composed of two protons and two neutrons, thus lowering the radioactive isotope’s atomic number by two. In this way uranium-238 decays to thorium-234. The thorium goes on to decay via a series of cascading alpha and beta decays until the nucleus eventually ends up as the stable lead-206. An alpha particle, as just mentioned, is two protons and two neutrons. As radioactive elements in our rocks decay, the alpha particles they emit pick up electrons from the surroundings and become helium atoms. Additionally, some of the helium atoms can migrate through the rocks, seeping through cracks.

Lego 3378

Some of it escapes from the ground into the atmosphere, and from there its fate is assured: drifting upwards and eventually off into space. But there are places underground where gas collects. Some types of rock are quite impervious to gases, and when layers of these rocks are buckled by geological processes, they can form folds underneath which gases (and liquids) can be trapped in permeable rock layers below . Petroleum, natural gas, and helium trapped in an anticline rock fold.

We call such traps petroleum and natural gas deposits , and over the past century or so we have eagerly sought them out for the petroleum oil and gas we use for fuels. This helium is separated and compressed for storage and transport. And this is where all of the helium that we use comes from, as a byproduct of natural gas extraction. The helium trapped in these gas deposits has built up, atom by atom, from the radioactive decay of heavy elements, over billions of years.

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The rate of production is so slow that once we use up what’s there, we will have no more ready supply of helium. This is a serious concern, because at the rate we are extracting and using it, the supply will run out in the foreseeable future – within about 50 years at current estimates and rate of consumption. In this light, using helium for party balloons seems a bit unnecessary, compared to running machines which can save lives. Once the helium trapped underground is gone, there is no economically viable way for us to get more. It would be possible to mine uranium and refine it just to collect the alpha particles, or we could extract the scant few parts per billion of helium that remain in our atmosphere, but either method would probably end up costing millions of dollars for enough helium to fill a party balloon. There are enormous amounts of helium in our solar system – most of it in the place where it was first detected: the sun. An even easier place for us to get helium is, oddly enough, our moon. The particles of the solar wind impact the moon’s surface continually, embedding themselves in the lunar soil and rock. But mining the moon for helium is a long way off, technologically and economically. By all sensible measures, helium should be a resource we value much more highly then we presently do. If we were using helium at the rate it is currently being extracted, the price would be much higher due to the laws of supply and demand.Helium will be far too expensive to use for party balloons. Let’s hope we have the determination and technology to get into space and get access to more helium before we have to stop using it to help sick people. Helium can form highly unstable molecular compounds when severely maltreated, such as being forcefully ionised and subjected to concentrations of highly reactive elements, or when subjected to immense pressures. But for all sane practical purposes, helium simply doesn’t form compounds.


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