[Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

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[Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Postby Detox665 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:36 pm UTC

Long time listener, first time caller, love the show!

More seriously, had the question of whether or not a structurally sound lead balloon could be used to float in the earth's atmosphere. It sounded like a decent germ of an idea for a "What if".

Not seeing a better place for this on the forum. Also, didn't see where Randall has done considered this one already.

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Re: [Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Postby KittenKaboodle » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:43 pm UTC

Myth busters !

Though they just barely got one to float in an aircraft hanger, I doubt one could withstand weather. On the other hand they were using helium, hydrogen would allow a slightly stronger (thinker) skin.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: [Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:08 pm UTC

It's season 6, episode 2.

Lead is one of the worst possible materials not only because of its density but also its softness and lack of rigidity. There is no difference between a lead balloon and any other except that the lead balloon must be very thin in order to float, and thin lead ribs are liable to bend and break. A true dirigible lead balloon would probably be impossible to build, or at least extremely dangerous.

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