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# The Physics of Balloons and Submarines

## Helium, H2 and hot-air balloons and

submarines have mass.
Why dont they fall down ?
What is the force that makes them go up ?

What is air ?
It is a gas (80% N2).
consists of lots of molecules/atoms bouncing
around in free-fall.
Can we catch air ? (Use a balloon!) How can we measure it ?

## Air has pressure!

atoms banging on the walls of container exerts forces on walls
Average Force is proportional to the area
Define Pressure = Force/Unit area
Question: Compare the air pressure inside
and outside the balloon. Are they different?
A unit Area

## Air has density!

A volume of air particles has an average mass
Density = average mass/unit volume (1.25 kg/m3)

## Air pressure is proportional to density:

denser air: more particles hit surface
denser air
more pressure

P ,

## Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms, and

is related to the pressure. In fact, Pressure is proportional to Temperature.

## P T, for fixed particle density

These relations lead to the ideal gas law equation
(holds only for non-interacting particles):

P=kT
Boltzmanns constant
1.38 x 10-23 Pa-m3/particle-K

Particle density

## Absolute Temperature ( Kelvin)

C + 273 = K(Kelvin scale)
e.g. 0 C = 273 K

High
Altitudes
(thin air)

## Unbalanced Pressures exert an overall upward force,

forces balloon to move towards lower pressure.

Low
Altitudes
(dense air)

## Why do you float in your swimming pool ?

Why does a helium balloon fly when released ?
Its all the same thing, really (water and air are both fluids).
Lets do a thought experiment.
B
A
Lower pressure
Higher pressure

A. Consider a spherical
volume of H20 stationary
in the liquid:
Wsphere = buoyant force

## B. Replace the H20 sphere with a

solid sphere of equal volume.
A Submerged object feels a
buoyant force equal to the weight
of the volume of liquid displaced !
- Archimedess Principle

It doesnt matter what material you submerge. For the same volume,
they all experience the same buoyant force (BF)!

## If the submerged bodys weight W > BF, it sinks to the bottom.

If the submerged bodys weight W < BF, it rises to the top.

## The difference in air pressure produces as upward

Buoyant Force on things around us.
High Altitudes: Low Air density (thin air) -> Low Pressures

Air pushes up
more than down.
But not all things
float. Why ?

## A Recipe for Floating Balloons

1. Fill balloon w/ any gas that is lighter than air, e.g. He, H2, etc.
BF = airVg
air

He

mg = (HeV)g

He air

Volume V

BF = airVg
air
Hot air

mg = (hot
airV)g

Volume V

## Why a Hot-air Balloon Floats

Note: Outside and Inside pressures are equal
(otherwise balloon will expand or contract)
Hot Air less
dense inside

## Cool Air denser

outside

Hot-air balloons:
contains fewer air particles than if it were cold
must therefore be lighter (less dense) than the volume
of relatively colder air it displaces, making them float

Buoyant Force (BF) = Vdisplaced air g: The larger the balloon, the larger BF