A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium , hydrogen , nitrous oxide , oxygen , air. For special tasks, balloons can be filled with smoke, liquid water , granular media e. Modern day balloons are made from materials such as rubber , latex , polychloroprene , or a nylon fabric, and can come in many different colors. Some early balloons were made of dried animal bladders , such as the pig bladder. Some balloons are used for decorative purposes or entertaining purposes, while others are used for practical purposes such as meteorology , medical treatment , military defense , or transportation.
Background The stretchiness of a balloon is based on its material. Main article: Atmospheric pressure. Later, coal gas and later still helium were used. You can warm balloons in a warm-water bath. On the incremental equations in non - balloln elasticity II. Main article: Balloon aeronautics.
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- There are few things more disappointing than a party decorated with underinflated balloons.
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Introduction Balloons are fun and come in a variety of sizes, colors and forms that make them well suited for decorations, water play, modeling and other creative activities.
But balloons also have uses outside of recreation: monitoring weather, widening obstructed arteries and providing transportation are just a few examples. The first balloons were made of animal bladders or intestines.
This made way for the latex, rubber and nylon fabric balloons we see today. Have you ever wondered what makes these materials excellent for balloons? Try this activity to find out!
Background The stretchiness of a balloon is based on its material. Most balloons are made of rubber, latex or nylon fabric, which consist of long particles called polymers that are like strands of cooked spaghetti, but a lot smaller!
When you stretch these materials, the polymers in them straighten out and slide alongside and over one another. When you let go, small forces between the polymers pull them back together, like a contracting spring.
When you inflate a balloon, the trillions of polymers in its material are straightening and sliding over one another: The first puff of air straightens them, and after that each blow works to push the polymers over one another, working against the forces pulling them back together.
If you forget to trap the air inside the balloon by pinching it closed, the polymers pull back together. This pushes the air out of the balloon, and you will have to start over! Balloons are elastic—but only to a certain extent. When you stretch them, they will generally regain the original form after you let the air out. If you stretch them too much, however, they will never quite regain original form.
If you stretch them even more, you will eventually reach the breaking point and the material will rupture. The temperature of matter is an indication of how much its particles move and wiggle around. Because higher temperatures mean more movement, the polymers in a room-temperature balloon wiggle and move more than do those in a cold one.
A lot of materials become brittle and inflexible when cooled. A slice of bread is a good example: It is flexible and sometimes elastic at room temperature but loses these characteristics when frozen.
Would a cold balloon resist being stretched, too? Observations and results Did the cold balloon require more effort to blow up compared with the one at room temperature? Did your balloon pop when you poked it in a spot where the balloon was stretched taut?
The particles in cold material move and wiggle less and can hold onto one another more easily. As a result, a cold balloon resists being stretched more than a warmer one does. You perceived this as having to work harder to blow up the cold balloon. You might have noticed this resistance disappears as the balloon warms up. Did you observe how the balloons that were blown up with only a few breaths regained their original shapes and sizes when the air was let out, but the one that was blown up completely did not quite regain its original size?
This is typical for elastic materials. If you had blown even more air into the balloon, it would have eventually broken. When you tried to pop a taut part of the balloon by poking it, it probably cracked. Think of a stretched rubber band. When you cut it in the middle, the two ends snap back. In a similar way the small hole in the taut surface made part of the surface snap back, pulling the material around back. This pull tore the surface of the balloon open.
The air in the balloon rushed out, creating a shock wave, which you heard as a loud bang. When you use a sharp object to poke in a place where the material can still stretch, such as close to the knot or near the top, you can pierce a balloon without destroying it.
When the material around the puncture is not stretched, it does not pull on the created hole and thus does not tear it open. Also, the greasy lip balm you applied to the skewer helps to seal the hole. More to explore Bend or Break? This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. Key concepts Physics Materials Elastic Temperature Introduction Balloons are fun and come in a variety of sizes, colors and forms that make them well suited for decorations, water play, modeling and other creative activities.
Materials Several new balloons, all the same size and material Permanent marker Freezer Skewer Lip balm or petroleum jelly Preparation Mark two uninflated balloons with permanent marker. Cool the two marked balloons in the freezer for at least two hours.
Leave the other balloons at room temperature. Procedure Take a room-temperature balloon, and blow a breath of air into it. How hard it is to blow air into the empty balloon? Blow a few more breaths into the balloon. Is it getting easier or harder to push air into the balloon? Why would this be? Let the air escape from the balloon and take some deep breaths before continuing. Take a balloon out of the freezer and repeat the previous three steps with this balloon.
How hard is it to blow up an ice-cold balloon compared with one at room temperature? To make a fair comparison, repeat previous steps, now testing the other ice-cold balloon first and the room-temperature balloon last. Do your results change? Why would one be more difficult than the other? Take one of the room-temperature balloons you just used and inflate it until you are afraid it will burst if you blow any more air into it.
Then let the air escape. Lay a new balloon next to the two other used room-temperature balloons. In what ways do these three empty balloons look similar and different?
Rub some lip balm on the skewer, starting from the tip. Blow up one of the balloons any of them is fine until about two thirds full, and knot it so the air is trapped. What do you think will happen when we poke the balloon with the skewer? Look at your blown-up balloon. Where would you poke the skewer into the balloon to pop the balloon quickly?
Why do you choose that spot? Can you find a spot where you might be able to poke the balloon with the skewer without popping it? Poke the balloon to pop it. Did it pop? What do you think creates the loud sound of a popping balloon? Inflate another balloon until it is about two thirds full. Knot it and examine it. If you wanted to poke the skewer into this balloon without popping it, where would you poke it?
Try it out. Were you successful? If it did not work, try with another balloon. Notice how the rubber near the knot or the top looks darker and thicker. These are indications the rubber can still stretch there.
Try it a few more times until you succeed in poking your skewer through the balloon without popping it. Why do you think the skewer can enter the balloon in these spots without popping it? Extra: This activity compares ice-cold and room-temperature balloons. Add a warmed-up balloon to the comparison. You can warm balloons in a warm-water bath.
Extra: Inflate two new balloons to the same size. Knot them carefully so no air escapes. Cool one balloon in the refrigerator, the freezer or outside on a freezing-cold day, keeping the other balloon at room temperature.
After about an hour compare the two balloons. How are they different? Why does this happen? Earthquake Structure Shake. Get smart. Sign up for our email newsletter. Sign Up. See Subscription Options Already a subscriber?
Airtight inflatable rubber duck model balloon H Do not pre-inflate the body or the head. So no matter your particular interest in balloons, perfect inflation is the most important tool available to you. Stretch the balloon once lengthwise and once crosswise-- just grasp it between your fingers and thumbs and give it a good tug or two. We all miss one or two life lessons. Note the round shape and long uninflated neck.
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A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium , hydrogen , nitrous oxide , oxygen , air.
For special tasks, balloons can be filled with smoke, liquid water , granular media e. Modern day balloons are made from materials such as rubber , latex , polychloroprene , or a nylon fabric, and can come in many different colors. Some early balloons were made of dried animal bladders , such as the pig bladder. Some balloons are used for decorative purposes or entertaining purposes, while others are used for practical purposes such as meteorology , medical treatment , military defense , or transportation.
A balloon's properties, including its low density and low cost, have led to a wide range of applications. The rubber balloon was invented by Michael Faraday in , during experiments with various gases.
He invented them for use in the lab. Balloons are used for decorating birthday parties, weddings, corporate functions, school events, and for other festive gatherings. The artists who use the round balloons to build are called "stackers" and the artists who use pencil balloons to build are called "twisters. The most common types of balloon decor include arches, columns, centerpieces, balloon drops, sculptures, and balloon bouquets.
With the increased aptitude for balloon twisting as well as balloon stacking, the rise of the deco-twister manifests itself as the combination of stacking techniques as well as twisting techniques to create unique and interesting balloon decor option. Party balloons are mostly made of a natural latex tapped from rubber trees , and can be filled with air, helium, water, or any other suitable liquid or gas.
The rubber's elasticity makes the volume adjustable. Often the term "Party Balloon" will refer to a twisting balloon or pencil balloon. These balloons are manipulated to create shapes and figures for parties and events, typically along with entertainment. Filling the balloon with air can be done with the mouth, a manual or electric inflater such as a hand pump , or with a source of compressed gas.
When rubber or plastic balloons are filled with helium so that they float, they typically retain their buoyancy for only a day or so, sometimes longer. The enclosed helium atoms escape through small pores in the latex which are larger than the helium atoms. Balloons filled with air usually hold their size and shape much longer, sometimes for up to a week. Even a perfect rubber balloon eventually loses gas to the outside. The process by which a substance or solute migrates from a region of high concentration, through a barrier or membrane, to a region of lower concentration is called diffusion.
The inside of balloons can be treated with a special gel for instance, the polymer solution sold under the "Hi Float" brand which coats the inside of the balloon to reduce the helium leakage, thus increasing float time to a week or longer.
Beginning in the late s, some more expensive and longer-lasting foil balloons made of thin, unstretchable, less permeable metallised films such as Mylar BoPET started being produced. These balloons have attractive shiny reflective surfaces and are often printed with color pictures and patterns for gifts and parties.
The most important attribute of metallised nylon for balloons is its lightweight, increasing buoyancy and its ability to keep the helium gas from escaping for several weeks. Foil balloons have been criticized for interfering with power lines. Balloon artists are entertainers who twist and tie inflated tubular balloons into sculptures such as animals see balloon modelling. The balloons used for sculpture are made of extra-stretchy rubber so that they can be twisted and tied without bursting.
Since the pressure required to inflate a balloon is inversely proportional to the diameter of the balloon [ citation needed ] , these tiny tubular balloons are extremely hard to inflate initially. A pump is usually used to inflate these balloons. Decorators may use helium balloons to create balloon sculptures. Usually the round shape of the balloon restricts these to simple arches or walls, but on occasion more ambitious "sculptures" have been attempted.
It is also common to use balloons as table decorations for celebratory events. Balloons can sometimes be modeled to form shapes of animals. Table decorations normally appear with three or five balloons on each bouquet. Ribbon is curled and added with a weight to keep the balloons from floating away. A decorative use for balloons is in balloon drops. In a balloon drop, a plastic bag or net filled with air-inflated balloons is suspended from a fixed height.
Once released, the balloons fall onto their target area below. Balloon drops are commonly performed at New Year's Eve celebrations and at political rallies and conventions , but may also be performed at celebrations, including graduations and weddings. For decades, people have also celebrated with balloon releases.
This practice has been discouraged by the balloon industry, as it has posed problematic for the environment and cities. In recent years, legislation, such as the California Balloon Law , has been enacted to enforce consumers and retailers to tether helium-filled foil BoPET balloons with a balloon weight. This ensures that the helium-filled balloons do not float into the atmosphere, which is both potentially injurious to animals, the environment, and power lines.
Many states now have banned balloon releases. It is becoming more common for balloons to be filled with air instead of helium, as air-filled balloons will not release into the atmosphere or deplete the earthly helium supply.
There are numerous party games and school-related activities that can use air-filled balloons as opposed to helium balloons. When age-appropriate, these activities often include the added fun of blowing the balloons up. In many events, the balloons will contain prizes, and party-goers can pop the balloons to retrieve the items inside.
Balloons are used for publicity at major events. Screen printing processes can be used to print designs and company logos onto the balloons. Custom built printers inflate the balloon and apply ink with elastic qualities through a silk screen template.
Also in the s at the start of the Cold War, activists in Western Europe uses balloons for propaganda purposes that would float east over Eastern Europe, which would release newspapers and pamphlets. Today, South Korean activists are using the same balloon method to get information to those in North Korea. Paolo Scannavino set the record of 11 for the most giant balloons entered in 2 minutes. Water balloons are thin, small rubber balloons filled with a liquid, usually water, instead of a gas, and intended to be easily broken.
They are usually used by children, who throw them at each other, trying to get each other wet, as a game, competition, or practical joke. By forcing water out the open end of a water balloon, it is possible to use it as a makeshift water gun.
Solar balloons are thin, large balloons filled with air that is heated by the sun in order to decrease its density to obtain lift. Balloons are often deliberately released, creating a so-called balloon rocket. Balloon rockets work because the elastic balloons contract on the air within them, and so when the mouth of the balloon is opened, the gas within the balloon is expelled out, and due to Newton's third law of motion , the balloon is propelled forward.
This is the same way that a rocket works. Balloons filled with hot air or a buoyant gas have been used as flying machines since the 18th century.
The earliest flights were made with hot air balloons using air heated with a flame, or hydrogen as the lifting gas. Later, coal gas and later still helium were used. An unpowered balloon travels with the wind. A balloon which has an engine to propel it is called a dirigible balloon or airship.
Angioplasty is a surgical procedure in which very small balloons are inserted into blocked or partially blocked blood vessels near the heart. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to clear or compress arterial plaque , and to stretch the walls of the vessel, thus preventing myocardial infarction. A small stent can be inserted at the angioplasty site to keep the vessel open after the balloon's removal.
Balloon catheters are catheters that have balloons at their tip to keep them from slipping out. For example, the balloon of a Foley catheter is inflated when the catheter is inserted into the urinary bladder and secures its position. Insertion of balloons subsequently filled with air or liquid can be used to stop bleeding in hollow internal organs such as stomach or uterus. There has been some environmental concern over metallised nylon balloons, as they do not biodegrade or shred as rubber balloons do.
Release of these types of balloons into the atmosphere is considered harmful to the environment. This type of balloon can also conduct electricity on its surface and released foil balloons can become entangled in power lines and cause power outages.
Released balloons can land anywhere, including on nature reserves or other areas where they can pose a hazard to animals through ingestion or entanglement. Because of the potential harm to wildlife and the effect of litter on the environment, some jurisdictions even legislate to control mass balloon releases. Legislation proposed in Maryland , US, was named after Inky, a pygmy sperm whale who needed six operations after swallowing debris, the largest piece of which was a Mylar balloon.
However, a latex balloon can take up to a year to degrade if it lands in the sea and during this time it is possible for a marine animal to ingest the balloon and die from slow starvation if its digestive system is blocked. When balloons eventually return to the ground, they begin the degradation process. Latex balloons are the most used because of their ability to biodegrade.
The problem with this is that it can take at least 4 weeks to show substantial degradation of the polymer in the environment, and around 6 months in aquatic environments. When that happens, it can lead to negative effects for the animals. For example, a bird will use a deflated balloon as a component for its nest. When the eggs hatch, they will get tangled in the balloon and that can lead to death. Once inflated with regular, atmospheric air, the air inside the balloon will have a greater air pressure than the original atmospheric air pressure.
Air pressure, technically, is a measurement of the amount of collisions against a surface at any time. In the case of balloon, it's supposed to measure how many particles at any in any given time space collide with the wall of the balloon and bounce off.
However, since this is near impossible to measure, air pressure seems to be easier described as density. The similarity comes from the idea that when there are more molecules in the same space, more of them will be heading towards a collision course with the wall. The first concept of air pressure within a balloon that is necessary to know is that air pressures "try" to even out. As air pressure itself is a description of the total forces against an object, each of these forces, on the outside of the balloon, causes the balloon to contract a tiny bit, while the inside forces cause the balloon to expand.
With this knowledge, one would immediately assume that a balloon with high air pressure inside would expand based on the high amount of internal forces, and vice versa. This would make the inside and outside air pressures equal. However, balloons have a certain elasticity to them that needs to be taken into account. The act of stretching a balloon fills it with potential energy.
When it is released, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and the balloon snaps back into its original position, though perhaps a little stretched out.