Helium is a tasteless, odorless, colorless inert gas known for its use to augment the levitation runes of airships due to its lightweight properties. The Mines of Martoka are the primary supplier of Helium.
Physical & Chemical Properties
Helium is found naturally in a gaseous state. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and one of the lightest known gasses, second only to Hydrogen. If inhaled in large quantities the individual will become lightheaded, with articulation jumping several octaves higher than normal, but once the gas is fully exhaled there are no lasting effects provided the individual still inhaled an appropriate amount of breathable air and is not suffering from Oxygen deprivation. The gas can be liquified when frozen to 4AD (absolute degrees), or at higher temperatures provided the gas is also kept at a higher pressure. It cannot be frozen at 1 SP (standard pressure) but at 25 SP it will freeze at 1AD. Higher pressures increase its freezing point.
Helium has never been observed to bind with any other element or compound. Attempts to artificially manufacture bonds with other elements have failed, leading scientists to conclude that Helium does not bond with any element.
Geology & Geography
Helium has only been found sealed underground, typically in the presence of Natural Gas. The Mines of Martoka on Martoka Island devote some energy to harnessing Helium when extracting natural gas from their mines. When Helium escapes its containment it floats upward and is lost within the atmosphere. Multiple tests by the Society of Scientific Exploration and Discovery show Helium content well below expected released quantities in the air of the skies of Fillimet. The gas is therefore assumed to keep rising perpetually beyond the current reach of sapient life. No further investigative attempts have been made to search higher, as the Mines of Martoka have more than enough supply for any desired usage.
History & Usage
Most citizens of Fillimet associate Helium with Airships due to its common usage to augment the lifting capabilities of the levitation Runes. The Fillimet Magical Archives also utilizes the gas in its liquid form as an efficient refrigerant.
Because Helium does not bind with any other element the refinement process is fairly simple. When extracted from the ground the gasses are a mix of Helium, Hydrogen, and Natural Gas. The gasses are cooled until the natural gasses liquefy and drop to the bottom for further refinement. The remaining Helium-Hydrogen mixture is then warmed and combined with Oxygen, causing the Hydrogen to bond with the Oxygen and create water. This mixture is then cooled again until the water and Oxygen liquefy. The remaining gas is then packaged for use or further purification.
Reusability & Recycling
Helium is a difficult material to contain and will escape through any available path even in its liquid form. Once it escapes the gas is lost and cannot be easily recovered. As a result there are no efforts to recycle the gas, and those utilizing the material are constantly topping off their storage tanks to replace leaked Helium.
Trade & Market
Helium is only readily available from the Fillimet Magical Archives through their extraction of Natural Gas at the Mines of Martoka. It is used fairly regularly in the Airship business as an augment for levitation Runes due to its lightweight properties, but is fairly rare otherwise outside of the Archives.
Helium must be stored in dense, airtight containers. Even in liquid form Helium will coat the inside of its storage containers and escape through the smallest opening.