How do Hot Air Balloons Float?
Have you ever wondered how does a hot air balloon work? There are actually quite a few factors that go into how a hot air balloon works. First, how do they float? Hot Air Balloons stay in the air because the air inside of the balloon is heated up by a burner. This makes the balloon less dense than the air. Some people might think that heat rises in the balloon when, in actuality, it is hot air that rises. For example, this is similar to when you see gray gas moving upward from an industrial smokestack. The gas moves up because the air coming out of the exhaust is hotter than the surrounding air. If you could fit a balloon on the smokestack and seal the sides up, the whole bag would go up and into the air, and would make a tiny hot air balloon.
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How Does a Hot Air Balloon Work?
There are three components that are needed in order to make a hot air balloon work. The basket, burner, and envelope.
Traditional baskets are normally wicker baskets that are placed directly under the envelope and burners. A wicker basket is durable, light, and helps absorb impact if the balloon hits the ground fast. The basket is connected to the burners by eight chains or ropes.
A burner is a gas jet that is fueled by propane cylinders. It is common to have one or multiple burners. The reason behind having one or more is to provide more lift and just in case a burner fails. It is also worth noting that extra fuel cylinders are carried outside of the basket.
To trap the hot air you need a balloon. Ballooners call this the envelope. The envelope is usually made of a light, durable, fabric like nylon. The envelope is made of sections called gores. The gores are sewn together securely so that it creates an airtight balloon that does not leak.
How Do You Fly a Hot Air Balloon?
Once a Hot Air Balloon is in the air, all that you can control is whether the balloon falls or rises. The balloon rises by turning up the heat in the envelope. You can descend by opening the vent on top, which allows cool air to rush in.
Now that we have established ascending and descending, how do you steer a hot air balloon? You can move sideways by making the balloon fall or rise so that it can catch air currents that are blowing in the direction in which you want to travel in.