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Helium-4



Helium-4 is a non-radioactive and light isotope of helium. It is by far the most abundant of the two naturally-occurring isotopes of helium, making up about 99.99986% of the helium on earth. Its nucleus is a boson and an alpha particle, having two protons and two neutrons. Alpha decay is a common decay mode for many radioactive isotopes. In fact, alpha decay of heavy elements is the source of most naturally occurring helium-4 on earth. Helium-4 is also a byproduct of nuclear fusion in stars.

Additional recommended knowledge

When helium-4 is cooled to below 2.17 kelvins (–271 °C), it becomes a superfluid, with properties that are very unlike those of an ordinary liquid. For example, if helium-4 is kept in an open vessel, a thin film will climb up the sides of the vessel and overflow. Another name for this property of Helium is Rollin film. This strange behaviour is a result of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation and cannot be explained by the current model of classical mechanics nor by nuclear or electrical models; it is only understood as a quantum mechanical phenomenon.


Helium-3 Isotopes of Helium Helium-5
Produced from:
Lithium-5 (p)
Helium-5 (n)
Beryllium-6 (2p)
Decay chain Decays to:
Stable
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Helium-4". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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