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Author Topic: Furthest a helium balloon can fly?  (Read 10956 times)

Herman Melville

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Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« on: 02/06/2009 14:17:20 »
What is the furthest and highest a helium-filled balloon (the sort children get given at parties) can fly? Could it, theoretically, travel all the way around the world and land back where it started?

Furthermore, could it theoretically fly indefinitely (until it popped/deflated or collided with another object)?

Although the helium might leak away, if it was high enough then presumably it could drift on winds and air currents for some time. My daughter still has a balloon she was given six years ago (made of a shiny foil-like material), so not all balloons deflate.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2009 14:37:53 by Herman Melville »


 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« Reply #1 on: 02/06/2009 14:36:46 »
Theoretically, so long as it doesn't spring a leak, I see no reason why not.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/2009 17:47:53 »
Because helium is such a small atom it leaks relatively easily though rubber balloons and the like, but if the balloon was made from a membrane impermeable to helium then it should stay up indefinitely yes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium_balloon

The altitude record for an unmanned balloon is 53.0 kilometres. It was reached by a Fujikura balloon with a volume of 60 thousand cubic metres, launched in May 2002 from Sanriku, Iwate, Japan. This is the greatest height ever obtained by an atmospheric vehicle.
 

Offline RD

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Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« Reply #3 on: 02/06/2009 22:26:40 »
As the party balloon rises the atmosphere around it becomes less dense,
 so the gas in the balloon expands as it rises and this would eventually cause the balloon burst.
« Last Edit: 02/06/2009 22:28:29 by RD »
 

lyner

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Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2009 22:38:07 »
The modern party balloons are so much better than the old 'rubber' ones. If you want the balloon to go as far as possible then you need to get it inflated only just enough. It will not, then go as high because the weight of the envelope will prevent it rising too far and the pressure difference between inside and outside may be coped with by the seams.
I often wonder whether a pressure relief valve could help.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Furthest a helium balloon can fly?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2009 22:38:07 »

 

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