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Measurement Of Hydrogen In Helium Flow

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Programmatic Issues in Physics or Engineering Phys

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.860.1 - 15.860.7



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Paper Authors

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Randy Buchanan University of Southern Mississippi

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Christopher Winstead University of Southern Mississippi

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Anton Netchaev University of Southern Mississippi

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Steven Allee University of Southern Mississippi

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Measurement of Hydrogen in Helium Flow


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is one of the largest consumers of gaseous helium in the world. Because helium is a nonrenewable resource, it is desirable to conserve the gas whenever possible. This research is a first step toward enabling helium conservation through real-time measurement of H2 concentration in the purge gas. A commercial H2 sensor will be characterized for use as the real-time sensor and H2 concentration as an indicator of the effectiveness of the purging process, thus enabling the minimizing of helium waste. A test apparatus for water and liquid nitrogen flow research was retrofitted to provide for measurement of hydrogen in a helium flow stream. Results are currently being compiled but will be presented in the final paper, as well as the overall process and activities related to student learning.

Student Involvement

The project was the result of collaboration between the programs of Physics and Electronics Engineering Technology. Students participated in the design, specification, acquisition, and installation of appropriate hardware and software. Faculty and students conducted periodic meetings to develop strategies for accomplishing goals and reporting periodic progress. All students were able to assert their strengths in the project while strengthening their weaknesses in various engineering and scientific areas. Most of the work was completed by graduate students under direct supervision of a faculty.


An existing pipe structure was available for retrofitting, which allowed for a quick turnaround in establishing a working test fixture. The available test fixture was designed to provide a flow of water at 80 gal/min continuously, via a recirculation system. Additionally, the fixture was fabricated with cryogenic rated materials and components and could also accommodate liquid cryogens with up to 8 supply dewars in parallel. Retrofitting included changing the input and output fittings, rewiring and rerouting of input and output devices, and installation of a hydrogen sensor.

Hydrogen Test Apparatus

The hydrogen test fixture was developed for measuring relevant process variables and enable helium concentrations measurements under fluid flow conditions. The dynamic flow test structure consists of a 7.62 m (25 ft) length of 5.08 cm (2 in) diameter stainless steel pipe with capabilities of accepting gas, water or cryogenic fluids. This test platform monitors pressure, temperature, and flow at various locations along the pipe stream. Output of the hydrogen flow channelled through an exhaust system and vented to the building exterior. Figure 1 shows the general layout of the test fixture hardware.

Buchanan, R., & Winstead, C., & Netchaev, A., & Allee, S. (2010, June), Measurement Of Hydrogen In Helium Flow Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16907

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