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Science

How is helium collected?

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There is no chemical way of manufacturing helium, and the supplies we have originated in the very slow radioactive alpha decay that occurs in rocks. It costs around 10,000 times more to extract helium from air than it does from rocks and natural gas reserves.

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Helium is generated underground by the radioactive decay of heavy elements such as uranium and thorium. Part of the radiation from these elements consists of alpha particles, which form the nuclei of helium atoms.Helium can also be produced by liquefying air and separating the component gases.

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