Going Very High and Very Low with Helium and Sulfur Hexafluoride

Humans mostly breathe in oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon and then trace amounts of other gases such as neon, helium, methane, krypton, and hydrogen, as well as water vapour. Though we also willingly breathe in other things into our lungs, including helium and sulphur hexafluoride. Here’s the video that got me started on this adventure into the internet.

Helium is the gas that makes your voice high when you inhale it. It causes your voice to go high pitch like Alvin and the chipmunks in all of their chipmunk covers. Of course, there needs to be a gas that gives the opposite effect. But, this one is a lot less cute. It’s actually a tiny bit terrifying. Sulphur hexafluoride is the gas that makes your voice high when you inhale it. Both of these gases affect your voice because they are a different density than the rest of the air, thus sound travels through it differently. Adam explains the science behind it. He also speaks after inhaling the gases, because why explain science when you can show it.

There are a lot of examples of these two gases being used in interviews and pranks and the like. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Morgan Freeman shows how his soothing voice sounds while on helium. Here’s another interview with Vin Diesel, and his helium voice. Do be careful if you’re doing this, inhaling pretty much anything can be unsafe for your lungs.

Here are some covers using these gases. You’ll notice that all of them are helium covers. That’s because there aren’t many covers using Sulfur hexafluoride.

Dickie’s Beer Reviews‘s cover of “If it be your will” originally by Leonard Cohen. This one wasn’t by inhaling helium but helium beer instead.

Social Repose‘s cover of “Sad” originally by XXXtentacion

Helium‘s cover of “Cold Water” originally by Justin Beiber

Random Vibes‘ cover of “Shape of You” originally by Ed Sheeran

Wilder Shaw‘s cover of “Home” originally by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes


Let me know what you think in the comments below!!

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