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[Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:36 pm UTC
by Detox665
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.

Re: [Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:43 pm UTC
by KittenKaboodle
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.

Re: [Physics] Going over like a lead balloon

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:08 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
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.