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Insulated Balloon

Insulated Balloon

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Published by airshipworld
Whitepaper about a new insulation material for hot air balloon envelopes saving energy and increasing lift
Whitepaper about a new insulation material for hot air balloon envelopes saving energy and increasing lift

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: airshipworld on Jul 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/01/2012

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Insulated hot - air balloon
 A hot - air balloonwith fuel consumptionreduced by half 
 
Results of measurements on the model balloon (volume: 30 m
3
 )Flock insulator
+50 %with 3.5 mm insulationwithout insulationVolume - specic buoyancy (kg / m²)surface - specic heatoutput (W / m²)0.400.300.100.00200300400500600700800-50 %0.20
Innovative insulation sets standardsin energy efciency for balloons
air required for insulation by means of vertically orientedraised bres on the base membrane. This membrane with its spac-ing elements is known as the spacing layer. The gap is closedby a covering layer. The insulting effect is determined by the widthof this space, the ock pattern and the surface characteristicsof the spacing and covering layers. The outer layer of the balloonenvelope itself provides the insulation.The membrane ock insulating material is extremely light,highly reective, mildly heat - reective, temperature - resistant,compressible, readily adaptable to individual requirementsand easily optimised by means of adjusting the spacing gap andthe number of layers. High compressibility is a fundamentalrequirement, since balloons are packed and transported aftera ight.Simulations and measurements carried out with test balloonshave provided for initial insulation optimization and savingsestimates. Subsequent measurements on the test balloons haveconrmed that fuel consumption is reduced by half for a givenbuoyant force, or carrying capacity is considerably increased fora given quantity of fuel.Conveying ve persons in a hot - air balloon for one hour consumesaround the same amount of fuel as an economical passengercar during a drive from Berlin to Barcelona. Thanks to an innova-tive ultra - light membrane ock insulating material, the fuelconsumption of a balloon can be reduced by more than 50 %, or itscarrying capacity can be correspondingly increased for the sameconsumption rate. Insulated hot - air balloon, which was manu-factured for Festo, is the world’s rst balloon to include this newinsulating material, which allows the number of fuel cylindersto be reduced and additional passengers to be transported. At thesame time, the thermal load on the balloon material is reducedand its service life thereby extended.In the development project HeiDAS (hot-steam aerostat) by Festo,steam was used instead of hot air to ll the balloon. Steamhas twice the load - bearing capacity of air; however, it necessitatesinsulation to prevent condensation from forming on the interiorof the balloon envelope. For this purpose, ock insulation isbonded to a light but sensitive carrier foil that was rst producedon commission from Festo in 2003.The membrane ock insulating material was further developedand applied to the insulated steam balloon. A new ultra -light metallised base fabric transforms the foil into an insulatingmaterial suitable for everyday use in balloons. The innovativemembrane ock insulating material provides the layer of 2
 
Insulated hot - air balloon in the airThermographic images without insulation (left, approx. 55° C)and with insulation (right, approx. 40° C) of model balloons with30 m
3
volume and identical load-bearing capacity3The lightweight insulation is situated on the interior of the envelope, where it is protected against the adverse effects of everyday handling; this insulation in turn protects the load -bearing envelope against the effects of high temperatures. Highertemperatures than usual are encountered on the inner sur-face of the insulating material, while the cooler exterior of theenvelope hardly radiates any heat.To test this technology in practice, the engineers from UltraMagicand the Technical University of Berlin undertook trials using arst manned and insulated test balloon with a volume of 1.600 m
3
,under various conditions for a period of six months. This pro-totype completed about 100 hours of operation, during which itattained consumption savings of more than 70 % and conrmedthe material’s durability. With increasing size, the ratio of a balloon’s surface area to itsvolume decreases. At the same time, the internal pressureon the insulating material increases and reduces the insulatinggap between the envelope layers. These effects could impairthe function of the insulation. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the aerofabríx
®
insulation in the new Festo insulated hot - airballoon, a special race was staged: fuel consumption was meas-ured in a direct comparison with an uninsulated balloon of the same volume and with the same load. After 40 minutes of operation, the conventional balloon had used 37.2 kg of propane – the contents of several tank cylinders. The insulated hot -air balloon, by contrast, had consumed less than 11 kg – in otherwords 30 % of the fuel required by the conventional balloon; thisrepresents a drastic improvement in energy efciency.The insulated hot - air balloon shows what innovations are possiblein lighter - than - air aviation. Festo manufactures energy - efcientproducts and advises its customers as to how energy can be put toeven more efcient use in automation. With the insulated hot -air balloon insulated balloon envelope, it will be possible to makeballoon travel 50 % more efcient in future.

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