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Hot Air Balloon’s History and Principle of Operation Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jan 24th, 2022

Introduction

Ancient developments in air transportation created pathways for the current high-tech innovations. One of the most astonishing discoveries in air transport is the development of air balloons. However, this means of transport is considered to be the slowest among the existing means of air transport. This paper seeks to discuss and outline the history of the hot air balloons as well as describing how they work.

History of hot air balloons

The first hot air balloon was launched in 1783 by a scientist known as Pilatre De Rozier. Initially, the balloon was called the Aerostat Reveillion. It was first of its kind to be launched and it remained in the air for 15 minutes. Sadly the aircraft crashed and fell back to the ground. Luckily the passengers in the balloon were all animals. In the same year, another attempt was carried out this time with human passengers. In this second attempt, the balloon remained in the air for 20 minutes.

The first long distance balloon voyage was carried out by a French balloonist, Jean-Pierre Blanchard with his American friend, John Jefferies. They were the first human passengers to cross the English Channel, which was the longest distance in ballooning. In the same year, the founder of the ballooning technology, Pilatre De Rozier, crashed in the same channel and died on the spot. The accident was caused by an explosion, 30 minutes after the balloon’s take off.

How it developed to present day

Unlike a car, hot air balloons do not respond to human commands. It can be described as a means of transport, but it is mostly for luxury purposes. Most of the people who have been in an air balloon describe it as the most amazing experience. Hot air balloons use scientific technology to function. There are scientific factors that cause a hot air-balloon to remain up in the air and safely land back on the ground. The underlying ideology that runs the hot air balloon is the fact that hot air always rises above cold air. This is the main principles utilized in the balloon technology.

Nonetheless, it is imperative to note that it takes a considerable amount of hot air to lift the balloon up from the ground. In this case, the balloon’s envelope needs to be large in order to accumulate enough amount of hot air. The vast balloon-shaped fabric collects hot air and holds it for sometime. The hot air keeps the balloon suspended in the air. Under the balloon, there is a burner which is the chief component that pushes hot air in the balloon to remain it floating. The passenger’s unit is called the basket and it holds the passengers and the pilot9.

The heat produced to warm the air in the envelope is produced by propane gas. It is controlled by the pilot to maintain and keep a regular temperature enough to keep the air in the envelope hot. When the valves are open to allow propane to flow in large volumes, the air balloon goes upwards and faster. To take it down for landing, a hole at the pinnacle of the wrapping is unfastened to let the hot air in the balloon escape. As the hot air escapes, the balloon descends slowly to the ground.

Conclusion

This paper has discussed the principles behind the success of hot air-balloons. The paper starts by giving a brief historical background to help the reader to understand their origin. In this research paper, the principles employed in operating hot air-balloons have clearly been presented. The paper plainly explains the effects of hot air and cool air on the upward and downward movements of air-balloons. This research has established that regulating the speed of a balloon, either upwards or downwards, is dependent on the heat getting into the envelope. This paper is concise description of the development of the hot air balloon from its first adoption in the air transport industry. The paper has clearly described the functioning of the balloon both the mechanical aspect and the scientific principles that guide its movements.

References

Edmonds, I., ‘The potential of balloon engines to convert the low grade heat in warm, saturated air to electrical energy’, Solar Energy, vol. 85, no. 5, 2012, p. 818-828.

Javitt, M. C., and Hendrick, R. E., ‘Revealing Oz behind the curtain: USPSTF screening mammography guidelines and the hot air balloon’, American Journal of Roentgenology, vol. 194, no.2, 2010, p. 289-290.

Picard, R. W., ‘Emotion research by the people, for the people’, Emotion Review, vol. 1, no.1, 2010, p. 134-137.

Saad, W. E., et al., ‘Balloon-Occluded Retrograde Transvenous Obliteration of Gastric Varices’, Techniques in vascular and interventional radiology, vol. 15, no.3, 2012, p. 160-164.

Winter, A., ‘Sky 260-24 hot air balloon’, G-KTKT, vol. 1, no.2, 2013, p. 146.

Worthy, D., et al., ‘P3_3 around the World in 82Pb’, Physics Special Topics, vol.12, no.1, 2010, p. 123.

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