Hot air balloons are one of the most atmospheric and magnificent forms of transportation available currently, but it seems that the only way to stay in the air for an extended period of time is by using helium—a lightweight gas that is the ideal cooling medium for a balloon. The question is, do all hot air balloons use helium?
There are a lot of misconceptions about hot air balloons. The first being that it requires a lot of helium to lift them, which is not true.
While helium is used to fill the balloon, it is only used to fill the bag portion of the balloon. The rest of the balloon is filled with hot air.
Like so many other tasks in life, ballooning has its share of challenges and problems. For example, there are some that say inflation is the most important aspect of ballooning.
And that it is the most important part of all–although some of us think that putting on the balloon, getting in the basket, and taking off (or landing) is just as important!
What is helium?
Helium makes up about 1% of the atmosphere, itself a mere 8.8% of the Earth’s atmosphere , but the gas is special: it is the only non-metal in the universe that has no electronic, or valence, band.
The reason helium is the first element in the periodic table is that it has the highest density of any element at about 4.2 g/cm3, or 3.73 pounds per cubic foot.
It has very low density compared to other inert gases, such as nitrogen, argon, and krypton. The lowest density (at room temperature and pressure) is helium’s heavier cousin, neon, at 5.1 g/cm3.
For years, helium has been the stuff of science fiction. Helium, the second most abundant element in our Universe, is also a crucial component to our world’s most commonly used gases—oxygen and nitrogen.
After all, the gas that fills our balloons, our car tires and our homes is made of about 98% helium.
What happens if we run out of helium?
Helium is an extremely important element used in some very important areas, such as in the Department of Defense, to in medical procedures, and in such devices as hot air balloons.
It’s been a long road to get to where we are today with helium, as the United States was the first major producer of the gas early in the 20th century, but there are still mines that produce helium in the United States, Mexico, and Russia.
Right now, the world’s largest helium reserves are in the United States, with Texas and Utah being the largest producers.
What are the differences between gas and hot air balloons?
There is a great deal of confusion about the difference between gas and hot air balloons. Each type of balloon is suited to different tasks and has unique characteristics.
The origins of the two types of balloons are quite different, too. Hot air balloons tend to be more expensive and expensive to run, while gas balloons are typically cheaper to operate. Both types are suitable for a number of applications.
The main difference between hot air balloons and gas balloons is that the hot air balloons are filled with hot air, rather than helium. The hot air is heated by burning the fuel in the balloon.
The difference between hot air and helium is that helium is a less dense gas, and therefore it is necessary to heat the helium to a certain temperature before it can be released into the air. (Although, at that temperature, the helium can no longer be used to fill the balloon.)
The other main difference between the two types of balloons is the fact that hot air balloons have a rigid frame, while gas balloons have a cylindrical shape. The rigid frame keeps the balloon in the air, while the cylindrical shape allows the balloon to travel.
Why is helium safe in hot air balloons?
Here’s the setup: When it comes to helium, it has a reputation as a “fool’s gas” — a substance that is less than ideal for a balloon, and that can make the balloon more likely to burst. But this is not actually true, as you’ll learn in the following article.
If you’re curious about the safety of helium in hot air balloons, you’re not alone. Even though they’re filled with pressurized air, the balloons are don’t follow the typical rules of a balloon flight, which is why many don’t believe they’re safe, or at least, dependent on helium.
However, there are several safety protocols in place that are vital to the safety of the balloon and its passengers.
There are a lot of misconceptions about helium gas when it comes to balloons. People think that if they are hot, then the gas in the balloon will escape and the balloon will lose lift.
Just as helium is the preferred fuel in hot air balloons, it’s also the preferred gas for party balloons. Why? Because it’s lighter than air, and balloons don’t have to carry as much weight to lift off.
As a result, helium is the safest gas for balloons to lift off with, and is also considered the safest gas to use when transporting hot air balloons.
I’m Annie, a twenty-something year old girl who loves hot air balloons. So much so, that I have a full time job as a Flight Instructor and it is all I love talking about. Something about being up there in the elevated altitudes helps all my stresses float away!