Tracer Gas Leak Detection

Tracer Gas Leak Detection 


Multi-Function Leak Testers

Tracer Gas Leak Detection 

Tracer gas leak detection is the most sensitive type of leak detection, more so than other popular leak test methods.  This method is a highly effective way of finding very small leaks. While pressure decay and mass flow leak testing can identify leaks as small as 1×102 scc/s, tracer gas leak detection can identify leaks up to 1x10-9 scc/s.

How it works: 

Essentially, this method uses escaping tracer gas instead of pressurized air to identify microleaks. Helium is the most common tracer gas used in leak detection. Helium molecules are much smaller than regular air molecules (made up of 78% Nitrogen and 21 % Oxygen). Therefore, leak testing with helium can detect very small leaks that regular pressurized air cannot. Tracer gas leak detection requires a mass spectrometer to identify the presence of tracer gas.  


There are several methods of tracer gas leak detection.  

Sniffer Leak Detection 

Sniffer leak testing can detect leaks as small as 1×10-4 scc/s. In this method of leak detection, the part is filled with tracer gas, then a handheld sniffer probe samples the air outside of the part to detect any tracer gas. Sniffer testing can be affected by its environment, so it is best suited in a well-ventilated area free from left over tracer gas.  


Accumulation Leak Detection 

Accumulation is a more sensitive method of tracer gas leak detection than sniffer testing, detecting leaks up to 1×10-5  scc/s.  In this method, a part is put into a chamber and connected to a tracer gas source. The chamber is then sampled and analyzed for the presence of tracer gas. This method is not affected by environmental factors.  


Hard Vacuum Leak Detection 

The most sensitive type of tracer gas leak detection is helium hard vacuum, detecting leaks up to 1×10-9 scc/s. In this method a part is placed into a chamber and a vacuum pump is used to remove all air in the chamber. Tracer gas is pumped into the part. If tracer gas is present in the chamber a leak is indicated. This method is not affected by environmental factors.  


If you are interested in learning more about tracer gas leak detection and how it can be used in your application, contact a Zaxis sales representative today.  


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