Air Shark.

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manmantong2000
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Air Shark.

Postby manmantong2000 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:45 pm UTC

http://airswimmers.com/

A toy balloon that looks like a shark that can fly around the house. [YouTube]

This reminds me of this comic.
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Obby
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Obby » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:34 pm UTC

Didn't we just have a thread not too long ago about running out of helium? This doesn't really seem like a sustainable product to me.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:47 am UTC

Crazy idea; would it be possible to make a "balloon" that uses an internal vacuum to float? It would probably have to work by a ridgid and light outer structure correct?
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Kewangji » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:50 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Crazy idea; would it be possible to make a "balloon" that uses an internal vacuum to float? It would probably have to work by a ridgid and light outer structure correct?

I'm guessing no, but I'm not sure why.
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mmmcannibalism
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:56 am UTC

Kewangji wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Crazy idea; would it be possible to make a "balloon" that uses an internal vacuum to float? It would probably have to work by a ridgid and light outer structure correct?

I'm guessing no, but I'm not sure why.


I mean, the only problem is building the outside.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:27 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Crazy idea; would it be possible to make a "balloon" that uses an internal vacuum to float? It would probably have to work by a ridgid and light outer structure correct?
Theoretically, yes. Something with just helium inside is essentially an internal vacuum, compared to normal air. Practically, no. It'll be a long time until vacuum is cheaper than helium, and even then most people will probably switch to hydrogen. Vacuum is generally more unpleasant to work with (though it is nice to be worried about implosion rather than explosion).
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:19 am UTC

I don't know, but it seems to me that the extra weight going to making the skin rigid enough would counteract (to some extent, maybe completely, maybe not much) the extra buoyancy of vacuum over helium.

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Because in the case of an implosion you can just look straight at the thing.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Soralin » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:15 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:I don't know, but it seems to me that the extra weight going to making the skin rigid enough would counteract (to some extent, maybe completely, maybe not much) the extra buoyancy of vacuum over helium.

As a practical matter, it likely would. A vacuum balloon would work, As long as your have a shell which is rigid and strong enough to hold it's shape, and where it's total mass/total volume is less than that of what you're trying to float it in (for air at sea level, this would be about 1.2kg/m3, so if your sphere took up a cubic meter of space, the shell would have to weigh under 1.2kg to float). In practice, getting both of those conditions to hold at the same time may be difficult. And helium, under the same conditions is something like 0.18kg/m3, so if you wanted it to be better than a helium balloon, your rigid shell would have to weigh more than a normal balloon skin by only 0.18kg or less, for every m3 that it contained.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cube-square_law might help out a bit here, if you make it large enough. Although, if you make it large enough, you might not need a vacuum, or helium, you could just heat the air inside a couple of degrees or so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_nine ... _sphere%29 :)

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Menacing Spike » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:17 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Because in the case of an implosion you can just look straight at the thing.


Real men don't look at implosions either.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:05 am UTC

Soralin wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cube-square_law might help out a bit here, if you make it large enough.


I'm not sure it would. The larger you are, the more rigid it would need to be (because the curvature will provide less resistance to inwards motion the less curved it is) and so the thickness would not be constant with changing volume. What I think you'd find is that the density-volume graph has a minimum above which the lower curvature dominates and below which the cube-square law dominates.

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eSOANEM wrote:Because in the case of an implosion you can just look straight at the thing.


Real men don't look at implosions either.


I guess aperture don't want real men.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby LucasBrown » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:38 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Because in the case of an implosion you can just look straight at the thing.
You'd have to worry about parts of the shell rebounding and hitting your face--ever seen a CRT break? Implosions are just like explosions, except that everything goes inward very briefly before bouncing outward again.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Cloud Walker » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

Per amount of weight, would an internal lattice or support of some kind add more rigidity than thickening the shell?
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby curtis95112 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

Most definitely possible. Just consider a hollow sphere made of some kind of aerogel. I'm sure they're stiff and light enough. You don't even need it to be hollow if you use a nanofoam, actually.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:08 pm UTC

I remember reading a book once where there was floating platforms, or perhaps a floating city which was held up by vaccum spheres, i thought it was a cool concept at the time, and made sense, whatever strong lightweight metal they used was probably some alloy of handwavium ;)

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:I remember reading a book once where there was floating platforms, or perhaps a floating city which was held up by vaccum spheres, i thought it was a cool concept at the time, and made sense, whatever strong lightweight metal they used was probably some alloy of handwavium ;)


It was probably futurium; that stuff always seems to do what we can't quite do yet.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby cephalopod9 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:57 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Crazy idea; would it be possible to make a "balloon" that uses an internal vacuum to float? It would probably have to work by a ridgid and light outer structure correct?

You mean a structure that rises because it's filled with air at a lower density than the surrounding atmosphere?
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Maybe if you used a double balloon; you could inflate a skin/exoskeleton around a small amount of air.
But I think until they start selling helium at it's actual cost, production costs are going to be a lot higher for alternate designs.
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Enuja » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

Despite the shortage of helium, I think this is a fantastic idea. It's a novelty thing, and (unlike normal balloons) would lose impact if you saw them constantly. And who would want to control it often, anyway? This is a surprising, interesting, novelty toy which I strongly approve of, despite the long term helium shortage.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby rigwarl » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

I would want to control this all day.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Vellyr » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

I remember reading a book once where there was floating platforms, or perhaps a floating city which was held up by vaccum spheres, i thought it was a cool concept at the time, and made sense, whatever strong lightweight metal they used was probably some alloy of handwavium ;)


Neil Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" has vacuum balloons iirc.

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Re: Air Shark.

Postby ikrase » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:28 pm UTC

How about a nitrogen and hydrogen mix?
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Re: Air Shark.

Postby Carnildo » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:08 am UTC

ikrase wrote:How about a nitrogen and hydrogen mix?

When handling a flammable gas, you want to either eliminate most of the gas from the environment (keep the gas concentration below the lower explosive limit), or eliminate most oxygen from the environment (keep the gas concentration above the upper explosive limit). For hydrogen, the relevant numbers are 4% and 75%.

With a hydrogen balloon, you'll only ever see one number or the other if you've got a leak: you can get 4% in the outside air as hydrogen leaks out, and 75% inside as air leaks in. Adding nitrogen to your hydrogen won't really help either case, while it'll reduce your lifting capacity.


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