Difference Wiki

Helium vs. Hydrogen: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on January 20, 2024
Helium is a noble gas with atomic number 2, inert and lighter than air, often used in balloons; hydrogen is the lightest element with atomic number 1, highly reactive and a primary component in water and organic compounds.

Key Differences

Helium has an atomic number of 2, with two protons and usually two neutrons, while hydrogen, the simplest element, has just one proton and typically no neutrons. Both have one electron shell, but helium's is completely filled, whereas hydrogen's is not.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024
Helium is a colorless, odorless, inert gas under standard conditions. Hydrogen, also colorless and odorless, is highly reactive and combines readily with other elements.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024
Helium is widely used in balloons, airships, and as a cooling medium in nuclear reactors and MRI machines. Hydrogen serves as a fuel source, in ammonia production, and is crucial in the petrochemical industry.
Huma Saeed
Jan 20, 2024
Being a noble gas, helium is chemically inert and rarely forms compounds. Hydrogen is highly reactive, forming compounds with most elements, and is a key player in acid-base reactions.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024
Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, primarily found in stars and natural gas reserves on Earth. Hydrogen is the most abundant element, constituting roughly 75% of the universe's elemental mass, and is found in water, organic compounds, and as a gas in the atmosphere.
Janet White
Jan 20, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Atomic Number

2
1
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

Physical State (at room temperature)

Gas
Gas
Huma Saeed
Jan 20, 2024

Chemical Reactivity

Inert, rarely forms compounds
Highly reactive, forms many compounds
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

Common Uses

Balloons, cooling in MRI machines
Fuel, ammonia production, petrochemicals
Janet White
Jan 20, 2024

Abundance

Second most abundant in the universe
Most abundant element in the universe
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Helium and Hydrogen Definitions

Helium

Helium is non-toxic and non-flammable.
Helium is safe for use in children's balloons.
Janet White
Dec 15, 2023

Hydrogen

It has an atomic number of 1.
Hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table.
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Helium

It's used in cryogenics due to its low boiling point.
Liquid helium is essential for cooling superconducting magnets in MRI machines.
Sara Rehman
Dec 15, 2023

Hydrogen

It's the most abundant element in the universe.
Hydrogen fuels the sun's thermonuclear processes.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 15, 2023

Helium

It has an atomic number of 2.
Helium is used in gas chromatography due to its inert nature.
Sara Rehman
Dec 15, 2023

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is highly reactive and forms many compounds.
Water is formed when hydrogen reacts with oxygen.
Sara Rehman
Dec 15, 2023

Helium

Helium is a colorless, inert noble gas.
Helium balloons float because helium is lighter than air.
Sara Rehman
Dec 15, 2023

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is used as a clean energy source.
Hydrogen-powered cars emit only water vapor.
Harlon Moss
Dec 15, 2023

Helium

Helium has the lowest melting and boiling points of all elements.
Helium remains a gas at extremely low temperatures where other gases liquefy.
Janet White
Dec 15, 2023

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is the lightest and simplest chemical element.
Hydrogen gas is used in fuel cells to generate electricity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 15, 2023

Helium

A colorless, odorless inert gaseous element occurring in natural gas and with radioactive ores. It is used as a component of artificial atmospheres and laser media, as a refrigerant, as a lifting gas for balloons, and as a superfluid in cryogenic research. Atomic number 2; atomic weight 4.0026; boiling point -268.9°C; density at 0°C 0.1785 gram per liter. See Periodic Table.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

What is helium?

Helium is a colorless, odorless, inert gas, the second element on the periodic table.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the lightest and simplest chemical element, represented as the first element on the periodic table.
Huma Saeed
Jan 20, 2024

Can hydrogen be used as fuel?

Yes, hydrogen is used as a clean fuel in fuel cells and combustion engines.
Harlon Moss
Jan 20, 2024

Is helium reactive?

No, helium is a noble gas and is chemically inert, rarely forming compounds.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What makes hydrogen reactive?

Hydrogen has a single electron, making it eager to bond with other atoms to achieve a stable electron configuration.
Janet White
Jan 20, 2024

Where is helium found naturally?

Helium is commonly found in natural gas reserves and is produced through the radioactive decay of elements like uranium.
Janet White
Jan 20, 2024

Are there any dangers associated with hydrogen?

Hydrogen is highly flammable and explosive when mixed with air, requiring careful handling.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 20, 2024

How is helium extracted?

Helium is extracted from natural gas through a process of cryogenic distillation.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What are the methods for producing hydrogen?

Hydrogen is produced through steam methane reforming, electrolysis of water, and other chemical processes.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

Why is helium used in balloons?

Helium is lighter than air and non-flammable, making it ideal for balloons.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

How is hydrogen found in nature?

Hydrogen is found in water, organic compounds, and as a free element in the Earth's atmosphere.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

How does hydrogen contribute to environmental sustainability?

Hydrogen is a clean energy source, with water as its only by-product when used in fuel cells.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What is the significance of hydrogen in biology?

Hydrogen is a fundamental component of water and all organic molecules, essential for life.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What types of compounds does hydrogen form?

Hydrogen forms a wide variety of compounds, including water, hydrocarbons, and acids.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 20, 2024

What are the safety concerns with helium?

Inhaling helium can cause asphyxiation due to oxygen displacement, but it is otherwise non-toxic and safe.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What is the role of helium in scientific research?

Helium is used in cryogenics, as a shielding gas in arc welding, and in particle accelerators.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

What is the future potential of hydrogen energy?

Hydrogen has significant potential as a sustainable and clean energy source for the future.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

Why doesn't helium form compounds easily?

Helium has a complete outer electron shell, making it energetically unfavorable to form chemical bonds.
Harlon Moss
Jan 20, 2024

Can helium be used in medical applications?

Yes, helium is used in respiratory treatments and as a coolant in MRI machines.
Sara Rehman
Jan 20, 2024

Is helium found in the human body?

Helium is not biologically active and is not found in the human body.
Janet White
Jan 20, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons