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- since 1996 -
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Technical Discussions
Omer Javed
Omer Javed
19:32 Jan-22-2009
Effect of water in Helium leak testing

We already have an image that presence of water is not good during Helium leak testing specially using Sniffer method.

We want to test our vertical type high pressure exchanger ( installed in area) for any leaks in tube-to-tube sheet seal welds using helium leak test( sniffer method based on mass spectrometry). Now the problem during testing bottom tube sheet of this vertical exchanger, we are unable to remove water from annular space of tube sheet (because the drain nozzle is an inch above bottom tube sheet).

Now the question is, "by pressuring the shell with helium, will this helium be able to diffuse through this layer of water and come out of leaks of seal welds and in turn be detected"

    
 
 Reply 
 
Dent McIntyre
Consultant, NDE Manager NDELevel III/3
NDT Consultant, Canada, Joined Nov 1998, 248

Dent McIntyre

Consultant, NDE Manager NDELevel III/3
NDT Consultant,
Canada,
Joined Nov 1998
248
01:11 Jan-23-2009
Re: Effect of water in Helium leak testing
In Reply to Omer Javed at 19:32 Jan-22-2009 (Opening).

Been there done that. You are correct.
Water will effectively plug any leak preventing helium from passing. Pressurizing with helium/air will just drive it in further.

What you need to do is one of 2 options.
1) bake the lower tubesheet to dry it out or 2) draw a vacuum on the shell side to effectively remove the water.

    
 
 Reply 
 
faran
Engineering
FFC Pakistan, Pakistan, Joined May 2005, 17

faran

Engineering
FFC Pakistan,
Pakistan,
Joined May 2005
17
01:31 Jan-24-2009
Re: Effect of water in Helium leak testing
In Reply to Dent McIntyre at 01:11 Jan-23-2009 .

I have a question, when Helium can diffuse thru Nuprene (rubber) which happens to be a solid why cant it pass/ diffuse thru water molecules.

    
 
 Reply 
 
Faran
Engineering
FFC Pakistan, Pakistan, Joined May 2005, 17

Faran

Engineering
FFC Pakistan,
Pakistan,
Joined May 2005
17
07:39 Feb-12-2009
Re: Effect of water in Helium leak testing
In Reply to faran at 01:31 Jan-24-2009 .

We performed an experiment and concluded that Helium does not pass thru water, however Helium molecules do penetrate in water at pressure. These molecules are given off when pressure is removed. Bottom line that successful Helium leak test using sniffer method cannot be performed when there is water present/ trapped in the leaking path.

    
 
 Reply 
 
Dent
Consultant, NDE Manager NDELevel III/3
NDT Consultant, Canada, Joined Nov 1998, 248

Dent

Consultant, NDE Manager NDELevel III/3
NDT Consultant,
Canada,
Joined Nov 1998
248
12:22 Feb-12-2009
Re: Effect of water in Helium leak testing
In Reply to Faran at 07:39 Feb-12-2009 .

Can we have some details on your experiment?

    
 
 Reply 
 
Joseph Azzara
Joseph Azzara
03:25 Jul-23-2011
Re: Re: Effect of water in Helium leak testing
In Reply to Dent at 12:22 Feb-12-2009 .

What are your thought on a trace gas using 95% nitrogen and 5% hydrogen coupled with a hydrogen detector?

    
 
 Reply 
 

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