What is a hot air balloon and how does it work?

What is a hot air balloon and how does it work?

Its that time of year where in certain parts of the country the sky becomes littered with balloons. So let’s take a look at this pastime.

Disney World

Let’s aims at describe how hot air balloons work and fly.

The principle of buoyancy explains the rationale of the working of the balloon. Buoyancy enables the hot air  balloon to move upwards and stay in the air.  

A wicker basket capable of holding 16 passengers
The hot air balloons fly because the heated air inside them has a lower density.

As compared to the cool air outside it (Azeta et al. 2019). Fluids such as air become less dense and/or lighter when heated. Moreover, the balloon has a propane gas burner. Whereby the pilot usually controls the strength of the flame. So to ensure that it ascends or remains afloat in the air. 

Once the gas burner is lit, the cold air in the balloon is driven away. While the volume of hot air rises. The expansion of hot air within the balloon means that it is less dense and can rise  upwards. Hot air is lighter as compared to cool air since it has a lower density.  

The principle behind the flying of the hot air balloon is the Archimedes’ principle of  buoyancy. One that stipulates that the buoyant force on a submerged object is equivalent to the mass of the fluid that is replaced by the object (Mohazzabi, 2017).

The upward buoyant force that acts on the air balloon is equivalent to the mass of the displaced air (Edmonds, 2008). Therefore, the creation of a lifting force in the balloon happens. After reducing its density by modifying the  temperature of its air.  

In conclusion, the hot air balloon flies based on the buoyancy principle. Regarding that, the air is heated and becomes less dense and/lighter. As compared to the cool air outside thereby enabling it to rise. The upward buoyant force that acts on the balloon is equivalent to the weight that is displaced. 

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What is a hot air balloon and how does it work?

References:

Firstly, Azeta, J., Ishola, F., Akinpelu, T., Dirisu, J.O., Okokpujie, I.P., & Ibhadode, O. (2019).  Performance evaluation of developed mathematical models of hot air balloons for drone  application. Procedia Manufacturing, Vol. 35, pp. 1073-1078. 

Secondly, Mohazzabi, P. (2017). Archimedes’ principle revisited. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, Vol. 5, pp. 836-843.  

Lastly, Edmonds, I. (2008). Hot air balloon engine. Renewable Energy, Vol. 34(4), pp. 1100-1105.

What is a hot air balloon and how does it work?