helium weather balloons essay

A weather balloon is a scientific instrument used by meteorologists to measure the activity of the world’s weather. Weather balloons are sent into the air every day, all over the world; they are sent up at the same time, and they are used to measure a variety of atmospheric pressures, temperatures, and wind rates. The data collected by weather balloons is saved and transmitted by the radiosonde. Sensors in the radiosonde record data and use a radio transmitter to send the data back to the tracking station.

Weather balloons are inflated with either helium or hydrogen. Hydrogen is a more common substance many places use because it’s cheaper, but helium which is a low-density gas is also a very common substance. The weather balloons are made of latex or neoprene which is a synthetic rubber, because of the rubber thickness, it prevents unanticipated explosions. A normal weather balloon expands to an average of six feet in diameter before it’s launched into the air. As the balloon rises, it is capable of expanding to twenty-two feet in diameter, which is the eruption point of weather balloons.

Two basic types of meteorological balloons: the smaller pilot and the larger balloons. The smaller balloons are usually tracked with a theologizing; these balloons are not made to carry a payload. The larger balloons are specialized to carry a radiosonde in the air, and these balloons are commonly used by a rawinsonde tracking station. They can also carry other types of payload, such as radar targets. The lifting capability of a helium balloon is connected to the volume of air displaced by the balloon; the larger the amount displaced, the greater the lift.

If there was a balloon in a fixed temperature room, and the air temperature is 0 for instance the air would be denser and the balloon would rise faster than in a room filled with 100 degree air. If however, this was done outside and a current of hot air was rising, the balloon may move quicker because of the rising thermals. This is true for most gases whose density is less than that of air. This is the reason why balloons filled with warm air can arise in air. Heating a balloon generates the helium atoms to move quicker. The acceleration in force impacts the atoms with the wall of the balloon, this process increases.

The increased force is a rise in pressure which, expands the rubber and makes the balloon become larger. Bridges have expansion joints because of this fact. A bridge can have a small expansion in hot weather, rather than in cold weather. So they put expansion joints in bridges, so they won’t collapse in hot weather. Cooling does the opposite. When the balloon cools, the pressure inside decreases, then the neoprene shrinks the internal volume, and the net volume of the balloon gets smaller. Balloons you blow up with your lung air consist of cooler air; so, it’s unable to float.

For a weather balloon to expand, it mostly depends on hot air and pressure, which also gives a balloon its lift.

Reference Page

  1.  “Balloon Lift with Lighter than Air Gases. ” UH Ham Club. May 2002. Web. 13 April 2010. www. chem. hawaii. edu/uham/lift. html
  2.  William Holmes, Wenstrom. “Weather Balloon. ” Weather and the Ocean of Air. Houghton Mifflin. Boston, 1942. Pg 3.
  3. “Weather Balloon. ” The Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. New York, 6th Ed. 2009.
  4. Larson A. George. “The First Space? The Explorer II Balloon Flight of 1935. ” Air Power History 53 (2006)
  5. Humphreys W. J. Ways of the Weather: A Cultural Survey of Meteorology. Lancaster, PA, 1942

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