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Author Topic: For Sounding Balloons or Red Bull Stratos: Why not use hydrogen over helium  (Read 4887 times)
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Couldn't you use less helium by heating it?
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Most folks don't realise all the helium we have is all the helium we have!

That was sort of my point.  You think Helium is expensive now, wait until we have to make it via a nuclear process alpha-emitting.  And that will be the last way to get it if we use it all up.  It is one of the truly unrenewable resources on this planet.  And it's one of the few things within your personal power to send to outer space.
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Vexatious Sampler

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Couldn't you use less helium by heating it?

It would add weight to the payload.  I am guessing that someone already thought of this and figured that there would not be a payoff.

What I am interested in knowing is if there is any theoretical way using nanostructures to make balloons out of vaccuums (voided nano-scale compartments or even human-scale ones) instead of using a lighter than air gas at all.   I envision something like styrofoam with voids in it and very light carbon materials keeping the voided areas voided and weighing very little.  Obviously the material science isn't there yet, but it is progressing quickly.
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Vexatious Sampler

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Problem with using a vacuum structure is that the structure weighs more that the air it is displacing and thus it won't float on air which is what Hydrogen and Helium do.
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Problem with using a vacuum structure is that the structure weighs more that the air it is displacing and thus it won't float on air which is what Hydrogen and Helium do.

Because you said so?  Link?
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Vexatious Sampler

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Joule-Thomson appear to disagree with you...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule%E2%80%93Thomson_effect

I have first-hand knowledge that escaping hydrogen can ignite in the way I've described.

Operative word there is "can".

And yet for years and years people have been able to avoid just that problem.
Gotta love engineering to get things right instead of wrong.



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Operative word there is "can".

You are wrong.  The operative words are "first hand knowledge".

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And yet for years and years people have been able to avoid just that problem.

Wrong again.
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Interesting discussion smiley
About the lifting power - http://www.airships.net/helium-hydrogen-airships -

about the leakage discussion:
Quote
A hydrogen atom is smaller than a helium atom, so you would expect hydrogen to have a very high leakage rate. But like nitrogen or oxygen, hydrogen molecules exist only as a pair of hydrogen atoms stuck together, and so are much larger than a helium atom.
Source - http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mats05/mats05203.htm -

Commercial production of Helium is done by distilling natural gas, which can contain up to 5-7% helium. It is result of natural radioactive decay so it is also found in uranium ore in higher concentrations. So as long as we have natural gas we will have Helium. Furthermore by the time we go to the moon again it will be one of the main export products of the moon.





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Commercial production of Helium is done by distilling natural gas, which can contain up to 5-7% helium. It is result of natural radioactive decay so it is also found in uranium ore in higher concentrations. So as long as we have natural gas we will have Helium. Furthermore by the time we go to the moon again it will be one of the main export products of the moon.

If memory serves, the reason we want the helium on the moon is that it is Helium-3 and will be used for power production via fusion.  That would be the only way to justify the huge expense in extracting it, if that ever happens at all (it would be the biggest project humanity has ever done by far.)  It's not going to be used to fill balloons.
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Operative word there is "can".

You are wrong.  The operative words are "first hand knowledge".

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And yet for years and years people have been able to avoid just that problem.

Wrong again.


Then learn how a spark is made. Electron orbitals, photons and all.

And yes, people -have- been filling balloons big and small for a long, long time with hydrogen and not getting burned or blown up, they have avoided that exact problem. Sorry you didn't share their experience, happy they didn't share yours!


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I am lovin' this "hydrogen hysteria"!

MUST show this thread to the guys that launch the radiosonde balloons at the weather bureau!

If you're not careful with black powder it can happen, mmm, fond memories of going to school with no eyebrows, eyelashes and frizzy hair!

Just so we know, CodingBadly, how did you loose your eyebrows with hydrogen?

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And yes, people -have- been filling balloons big and small for a long, long time with hydrogen and not getting burned or blown up, they have avoided that exact problem.  Sorry you didn't share their experience, happy they didn't share yours!

Once again you assume to know what's in my mind and what my experiences have been.  And, once again, you are wrong.
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Just so we know, CodingBadly, how did you loose your eyebrows with hydrogen?

Years ago I worked at a gas compressing plant.  One of our products was ultra-pure hydrogen gas.  The gas was stored in slender high-strength steel cylinders; a smaller stronger variation of a propane tank.  A small thick steel tube was used to transport the gas to each tank.

Despite every precaution, despite using the best materials, an explosion occurred.  The explosion had enough energy to open several nearby tanks resulting in an even larger explosion.  One of my coworkers was killed.

The investigation revealed that one of the metal fittings corroded.  A pinhole leak developed.  The escaping gas became hot enough to self-ignite triggering the disaster.
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And there was oxygen and a spark, even if the hydrogen made the spark. 

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The big danger is static.
We were shown a video in high school where the demonstrator ran toluene through a horizontal glass tube, where the toluene ran out into a bucket he placed an earthed copper electrode near the stream.
Within a few minutes of the toluene flowing it went up as the charge jumped to the electrode.

As I said before, static is the danger.

A leaking fitting, at high pressure would get colder, it was static electricity that sparked.

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