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Helium’s Future Up In The Air Reading Answers
Ritesh Prasad logo

Ritesh Prasad

Content Writer at Study Abroad Exams | Updated On - Mar 17, 2022

The IELTS reading section assesses students based on their ability to read a passage and answer subsequent questions. These are the KPIs that are used to evaluate a candidate's reading abilities in IELTS examination. The details are required to be remembered in IELTS reading from the passage that is presented to them. IELTS academic reading is a crucial section and students are required to look after their preparation accordingly. A book review IELTS reading answers is a topic which can be utilized by students to prepare themselves for IELTS reading assessment. Candidates face similar topics in IELTS reading practice papers.The topic includes question as mentioned below:

  1. Write the correct letter
  2. Complete the summary
  3. Yes, no and not given

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Section 1

The Academic passage ‘Helium’s Future Up In The Air’ is a reading passage that appeared in an IELTS Test.

A
In recent years we have all been exposed to dire media reports concerning the impending demise of global coal and oil reserves, but the depletion of another key nonrenewable resource continues without receiving much press at all. Helium – an inert, odorless, monatomic element known to lay people as the substance that makes balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled – could be gone from this planet within a generation.
B
Helium itself is not rare; there is actually a plentiful supply of it in the cosmos. In fact, 24 percent of our galaxy’s elemental mass consists of helium, which makes it the second most abundant element in our universe. Because of its lightness, however, most helium vanished from our own planet many years ago. Consequently, only a miniscule proportion – 0.00052%, to be exact – remains in earth’s atmosphere. Helium is the byproduct of millennia of radioactive decay from the elements thorium and uranium. The helium is mostly trapped in subterranean natural gas bunkers and commercially extracted through a method known as fractional distillation.
C
The loss of helium on Earth would affect society greatly. Defying the perception of it as a novelty substance for parties and gimmicks, the element actually has many vital applications in society. Probably the most well known commercial usage is in airships and blimps (non-flammable helium replaced hydrogen as the lifting gas du jour after the Hindenburg catastrophe in 1932, during which an airship burst into flames and crashed to the ground killing some passengers and crew). But helium is also instrumental in deep-sea diving, where it is blended with nitrogen to mitigate the dangers of inhaling ordinary air under high pressure; as a cleaning agent for rocket engines; and, in its most prevalent use, as a coolant for superconducting magnets in hospital MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners.
D
The possibility of losing helium forever poses the threat of a real crisis because its unique qualities are extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible to duplicate (certainly, no biosynthetic ersatz product is close to approaching the point of feasibility for helium, even as similar developments continue apace for oil and coal). Helium is even cheerfully derided as a “loner” element since it does not adhere to other molecules like its cousin, hydrogen. According to Dr. Lee Sobotka, helium is the “most noble of gasses, meaning it’s very stable and non-reactive for the most part … It has a closed electronic configuration, a very tightly bound atom. It is this coveting of its own electrons that prevents combination with other elements’. Another important attribute is helium’s unique boiling point, which is lower than that for any other element. The worsening global shortage could render millions of dollars of high-value, life-saving equipment totally useless. The dwindling supplies have already resulted in the postponement of research and development projects in physics laboratories and manufacturing plants around the world. There is an enormous supply and demand imbalance partly brought about by the expansion of high-tech manufacturing in Asia.
E
The source of the problem is the Helium Privatization Act (HPA), an American law passed in 1996 that requires the U.S. National Helium Reserve to liquidate its helium assets by 2015 regardless of the market price. Although intended to settle the original cost of the reserve by a U.S. Congress ignorant of its ramifications, the result of this fire sale is that global helium prices are so artificially deflated that few can be bothered recycling the substance or using it judiciously. Deflated values also mean that natural gas extractors see no reason to capture helium. Much is lost in the process of extraction. As Sobotka notes: "ijhe government had the good vision to store helium, and the question now is: Will the corporations have the vision to capture it when extracting natural gas, and consumers the wisdom to recycle? This takes long-term vision because present market forces are not sufficient to compel prudent practice". For Nobel-prize laureate Robert Richardson, the U.S. government must be prevailed upon to repeal its privatization policy as the country supplies over 80 percent of global helium, mostly from the National Helium Reserve. For Richardson,
A twenty- to fifty-fold increase in prices would provide incentives to recycle.
F
A number of steps need to be taken in order to avert a costly predicament in the coming decades. Firstly, all existing supplies of helium ought to be conserved and released only by permit, with medical uses receiving precedence over other commercial or recreational demands. Secondly, conservation should be obligatory and enforced by a regulatory agency. At the moment some users, such as hospitals, tend to recycle diligently while others, such as NASA, squander massive amounts of helium. Lastly, research into alternatives to helium must begin in earnest.

Questions 27–31

Reading Passage has six paragraphs, A–F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A–F, in boxes 27–31 on your answer sheet.

Q27. a use for helium which makes an activity safer

Answer: C
Supporting Sentence: Helium is mixed with Nitrogen and the application is seen in deep sea diving; blimps
Keywords: helium, diving, nitrogen, Blimps
Keyword Location: Paragraph C, line 6
Explanation: Helium is familiar to people as the gas which is used to fill up balloons or the other amusement purpose. But the helium has many safety purposes too, for example it is used as Blimps, for underwater sea diving so that to prevent divers from inhaling normal oxygen under such a high pressure.

Q28. the possibility of creating an alternative to helium

Answer: D
Supporting Sentence: The artificial making or duplicating Helium is not easy because it possesses its unique quality and the possibility for alternative of helium is quite impossible.
Keywords: unique, artificial, duplicate
Keyword Location: Paragraph D, line 1-2
Explanation: The unique qualities which make duplication of helium close to impossible are; its very stable and non-reactive mostly; has a closed electronic configuration due to which Helium is unable to combine with other elements.

Q29. a term which describes the process of how helium is taken out of the ground

Answer: B
Supporting Sentence: The process of fractional distillation is used to extract helium from ground.
Keywords: Fractional distillation, extract
Keyword Location: Paragraph B, line 6
Explanation: Helium is a byproduct of decaying of radioactive elements such as Uranium and thorium, as these activities are undergoing beneath Earth’s surface so this gas remains trapped inside the Earth surface, the extraction of gas from the surface for commercial use is called Fractional distillation.

Q30. a reason why users of helium do not make efforts to conserve it

Answer: E
Supporting Sentence: The Helium, presently, is fulfilling the global helium demand with ease, thus this increase in supple making it cheaper for the customer and thus this discourages people to conserve Helium.
Keyword: Conserve, cheap, demand
Keyword Location: Paragraph E, line 5
Explanation: The bill which was passed in US Congress enables the government to preserve the helium in National reserve but the assets have to be liquidated by 2015 , this act of the U.S. led to artificial deflation accumulated by low cost of extraction process and are responsible for why People do not make efforts to conserve it.

Q31. a contrast between helium’s chemical properties and how non-scientists think about it

Answer: A
Supporting Sentence: Non-scientists see Helium only as a gas which is used to fill balloons and help it to float and at inhalation of which the voice quakes.
Keyword: Gas, float, voice, Quakes
Keyword Location: Paragraph A, line 4
Explanation: Helium is a monatomic element which has characteristics such as- odorless, inert, stable but to lay man it is only known to them as a gas which is used to fill up balloons and at inhalation of which is Voice quakes.

Questions 32–35

Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage ?
In boxes 32–35 on your answer sheet, write

  • YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer
  • NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
  • NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

Q32. Helium chooses to be on its own.

Answer: YES
Supporting Sentence: The Helium poses many unique qualities as its lightweight, stability, compact structure and unique boiling point.
Keyword: Compact structure, unique boiling point, light weight
Keyword Location: paragraph D, line 1 and 9
Explanation: The helium has many peculiar features which is also a reason why duplication of helium is a challenging task, which ranges from its lightweight, boiling point, chemical structure to stability of the element which makes it rigid of reacting with other elements.

Q33. Helium is a very cold substance.

Answer: NOT GIVEN
Supporting Sentence: Helium – an inert, odorless, monatomic element known to lay people as the substance that makes balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled – could be gone from this planet within a generation.
Keyword: Helium, inert, odorless, monatomic element, balloons float
Keyword Location: Paragraph A, lines 3-6.

Q34. High-tech industries in Asia use more helium than laboratories and manufacturers in other parts of the world.

Answer: NOT GIVEN
Supporting Sentence: Helium is even cheerfully derided as a “loner” element since it does not adhere to other molecules like its cousin, hydrogen.
Keyword: Helium, loner, adhere, cousin, hydrogen.
Keyword Location: Paragraph D, lines 4-5

Q35. The US Congress understood the possible consequences of the HPA.

Answer: NO
Supporting Sentence: Although the U.S. had intention of settling the current price of helium but it was naïve enough to ignore the consequences of their act.
Keyword: U.S. Congress. ACT, settling current price
Keyword Location: Paragraph E, line 3
Explanation: In the year 1996 the U.S. Congress passed the Helium Privatization Act, according to which the US government had to liquidate all the assets of the National Helium Reserve by 2005 with the intention of settling the prices but they ignored the ramification of their act.

Questions 36–40

Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 36–40 on your answer sheet.

Sobotka argues that big business and users of helium need to help look after helium stocks because 36 ……………….. will not be encouraged through buying and selling alone. Richardson believes that the 37 ……………….. needs to be withdrawn, as the U.S. provides most of the world’s helium. He argues that higher costs would mean people have 38 ……………….. to use the resource many times over.
People should need a 39 ……………….. to access helium that we still have. Furthermore, a 40 ……………….. should ensure that helium is used carefully.

Q36. Sobotka argues that big business and users of helium need to help look after helium stocks because ………………..

Answer: Prudent Practice
Supporting Sentence: Sobotka argues that no corporation is no corporation that has a vision.
Keyword: Prudent and Practice
Keyword Location: Paragraph E, line 9
Explanation: This takes long-term vision because present market forces are not sufficient to compel prudent practice

Q37. Richardson believes that the ……………….. needs to be withdrawn, as the U.S. provides most of the world’s helium.

Answer: privatization policy
Supporting Sentence: US government should prevail because its largest helium producer in the world.
Keyword: Government, producer
Keyword Location: Paragraph E, Lines 15-18
Explanation: For Nobel-prize laureate Robert Richardson, the U.S. government must be prevailed upon to repeal its privatization policy as the country supplies over 80 per cent of global helium.

Q38. He argues that higher costs would mean people have ……………….. to use the resource many times over.

Answer: incentives
Supporting Sentence: Richardson suggests that if the Government incentivizes the people to encourage people for conserving and recycling the helium.
Keyword: incentivize, recycle
Keyword Location: Paragraph E, Line 13
Explanation: For Richardson, a twenty- to fifty-fold increase in prices would provide incentives to recycle.

Q39. People should need a ……………….. to access helium that we still have.

Answer: permit
Supporting Sentence: Helium is released only after permit, medical use is given priority over the commercial or other use.
Keyword: priority, permit
Keyword Location: Paragraph F, Line 2
Explanation: helium ought to be conserved and released only by permit

Q40. Furthermore, a ……………….. should ensure that helium is used carefully.

Answer: regulatory agency
Supporting Sentence: Conservation of helium should be regulated and enforced by an agency
Keyword: agency, regulated, conservation, agency
Keyword Location: Paragraph F, Line 4
Explanation: conservation should be obligatory and enforced by a regulatory agency.

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