Helium Leak Testing – Mass Spectrometry

What is Helium Leak Testing?

Helium leak testing usually proceeds by pressuring a test part with helium or a helium/air mixture inside a test chamber. The chamber is then evacuated and a mass spectrometer samples the vacuum chamber, ionizes helium present such that it can be detectable. Because helium is not affected by temperature variations or part volumes, it is considered the most reliable and consistent leak detection system for leak rates of less than 10-4sccs.

Equipment costs, maintenance costs, the extra time required to evacuate helium from test fixturing in between test cycles, and ever-rising helium costs often make this method an expensive option. The Test chamber and test circuit components can be expensive and costs can increase dramatically for larger part volumes. This relative expense requires users to really understand the application as the method can be viewed as overkill for many leak testing challenges.

Helium Mass Spectrometer Leak Detectors VS. Mass Flow Leak Detectors

Comparing helium mass spectrometer leak detectors to generic mass flow leak detectors can lead one to the erroneous conclusion that using only expensive helium testing will work for applications requiring identification of leaks under 0.5 sccm. InterTech combines customized mass flow sensors with a variety of techniques for 0.01 sccm mass flow leak testing with 10% gauge R&R, bypassing the need for helium and the associated costs and complications of helium testing.

Intertech Development Capabilities

However, in instances where Helium testing is required InterTech has the expertise and knowledge to build systems (including Helium reclaim) capable of meeting the greater sensitivity the application calls for. Contact the team at Intertech Development Company for more information regarding our helium leak testing technology.