Helium is one of the noble gases and the second most abundant element in the universe. It is so light that Earth’s gravity is not strong enough to hold on to it. When helium atoms are released into the atmosphere, they rise until they escape into space. As you cool liquid helium to just a few degrees below its boiling point (–269 degrees Celsius) it will suddenly be able to do things that other fluids can’t. Liquid helium is known as a super fluid. It can climb up and over the sides of a dish, and remain motionless when its container is spun. It becomes a liquid that flows without friction.
GCSE Scientists – you need to be able to explain the properties of the Noble Gases. For help with this try our new guide “How to work with the Noble Gases”. It includes questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.
Click on the picture below to see the guide.
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