Hot Air Balloon Resembling Bees Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A Hot Air Balloon is a special kind of lighter than air aircraft which simply flies because of hot air rises. Its working principle is solely based on two physical laws; that is Buyouncy and Charle’s Law Of Thermodynamics. We will cover these laws in the later section of this article. In fact, it is one of the practical examples of Charles Law. There are mainly three types of Balloons
Standard Hot Air Balloon or Montgolfier Balloons
Hybrid Balloon or Roziere Balloon
Solar Powered Hot Air Balloon or Solar Balloon
Hot Air Balloon History
A Modern Kongming Lantern Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Well, if we go back to the historical era, around the 3rd century AD, Chinese people were quite well aware of the fact that How Does A Hot Air Balloon Work? They used unmanned airborne Lanterns for military purposes. Chinese used to call this small hot air balloon – Sky Lanterns or Kongming Lanterns, or simply Chinese Lanterns. But if we talk about modern times, on June 5, 1783, it was Montgolfier Brothers of France who first successfully demonstrated an unmanned hot air balloon flight.
The First Manned Hot Air Balloon by Montgolfier Brothers Takes Off From Bois de Boulogne, Paris On November 21, 1783
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later in the same year, on November 21, 1783, this time Montgolfier Brothers again successfully demonstrated the manned hot air balloon flight piloted by Francois Laurent d’ Arlandes and Jean de Rozier at Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France. In fact, if we are talking about the history of the hot air balloon then Jacques Charles ( known for Charles Law – Law behind the working principle of hot air balloon) was himself a balloonist. On December 1, 1783, he successfully demonstrated the world’s first manned hydrogen balloon flight piloted by himself and Robert Brothers at Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France.
Parts Of A Hot Air Balloon
Parts Of A Hot Air Balloon Credit: Science ABC
Well, there are three essential parts of a hot air balloon that are an Envelope that stores heated air, a Burner, and a Basket or Gondola to carry passengers. Let us try to understand them one by one.
Hot Air Balloon Envelope
An envelope is one of the most essential parts of a hot air balloon with an opening at the bottom called the mouth. It is used to store heated air. They are generally made up of materials like ripstop nylon or Polyester. The mouth of a hot air balloon envelope or sometimes also referred to as the throat of an envelope is usually made up of fire-resistant materials, similar to the material used to make firefighter suits.
A hot air balloon basket is a place where passengers and a pilot can sit during flight. Generally, woven wicker is used for the construction of a hot air balloon basket due to its durability, strength, and it’s lightweight. They are attached to the bottom of a hot air balloon envelope with strong nuts, volts, and cables. Baskets are usually made triangular or rectangular in shape. A hot air balloon basket can vary in size depending on the number of passengers they are willing to take for the flight.
Hot Air Balloon Burner
A burner is nothing but an engine to a hot air balloon. A hot air balloon burner is fixed with a metal frame on the basket under the mouth or throat of an envelope. A hot air balloon burner basically mixes liquid propane (or hydrogen in case of Hydrogen balloon flight) with air and ignites it to heat the air that to be stored in an envelope. The power output of the burner can vary depending on the fact that how much power is needed. Normally, a hot air balloon carries two types of hot air balloon burner: A Quite One (also known as Whisper Burner) – Used when crossing residential area and A Loud One – which is used as in general.
People often ask questions like – how to fly a hot air balloon? or how do hot air balloons fly? or how does a hot air balloon work? Any guesses!!! Of course, whatever you are thinking it’s correct. The answers to all these questions lie in the vicinity of Charles’s Law and of course Buyouncy too. The principle behind the working of a hot air balloon is quite simple. Parts of a hot air balloon basically consist of an Envelope that stores heated air, Burner, and a Basket or Gondola to carry passengers. When the fuel source is ignited, the air contained inside the envelope gets heated up. According to Charles’s Law Of Thermodynamics, with an increase in the temperature of the air, the volume of the air will also increase. So as a result, the density of the air contained in an envelope becomes lighter than the density of the outside atmosphere. And hence due to buoyant force, a hot air balloon flies high; up in the sky.
I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.