The world watched in awe as magician David Blaine took to the skies using 52 helium balloons.
Although not many people would like to try, a question mark probably materialized in the minds of many, is how many helium balloons does it take to lift anything?
Whether it’s your beloved pet or the Tesla Model S parked in your garage, it’s easy to imagine them taking off into the skies at Disney’s Up. However, the exact number of balloons can be a bit difficult to answer.
Well, for everyone’s enjoyment, a molecular physicist from the Polish Institute of Nuclear Physics built the Helium Balloon Calculator, which lets you see how many helium-filled balloons it takes to lift anything.
Helium Balloons Calculator.
You might be wondering what it takes to build such a calculator. Well, it turns out that this is just Archimedes’ rule of thumb, according to Dominik Czernia, who is behind the Helium Balloon Calculator.
Dominik says that Helium has a lower density than the density of air, which is why a balloon filled with this gas will start to rise. The density of helium is equal to 0.1785 grams per liter.
The density of air, on the other hand, is about 1.25 grams per liter. By leaving some tolerance for the weight of the balloon and string, it can be estimated that each liter of helium has a lifting force of one gram.
You can manually find the number of balloons you would need to lift anything by determining its weight, measuring the size of the balloons, calculating the volume of the balloon, determining how much helium you need based on size, and dipping the total volume of helium required for the volume of a balloon.
Or you can just use Dominik’s calculator, which will do all of this for you in the blink of an eye, as long as you enter the necessary information, of course.
While David Blaine didn’t use this calculator to find out he needed 52 balloons, it’s safe to say it would make his job easier.
This is not a new thing.
David Blaine’s stunt wasn’t just the one or something, that took to the skies with the help of a few balloons.
In 2011, a National Geographic team lifted a specially designed house using 3,008-foot-tall balloons. They were able to make it climb 10,000 feet into the sky and fly for an hour.
It was a real Up experience, for anyone who got the chance to watch it live.
Plus, on a lighter note, YouTube personality Jenna Marbles also made a video in which she took the trial and error approach, to see how many balloons it would take to lift her dog Marbles off the ground.
Everything was done in a safe environment of course. The dog looked quite indifferent about it, so indifferent that he fell asleep at one point.
Such stunts can be risky.
You should know this, as seen with David Blaine and Real Life Up! house, such a waterfall is perfectly feasible, it involves certain risks.
Why can’t he fly any higher? Because atmospheric conditions become too dangerous for a man.
The oxygen level gets really low at these heights (that’s why he had to wear an oxygen mask), it’s cold there, and a human body can be exhausted after floating in the sky for so long.
If David had passed out, he would. go too high, and it would be too late to free yourself from the balloons. This move was incredibly risky!
I was watching this beautiful waterfall keeping in mind how dangerous it is there, and kept my fingers crossed. I understood science, hidden under magic, and that’s why I was so impressed. Good job, David! “
A job well done, indeed! As Dominic wonderfully put it, David Blaine was “like a character from an animated movie, in a stunt that was an example of pure science.
It was nothing other than our old friend’s buoyancy and Archimedes’ Principle that were responsible for the magician’s separation,” Dominic wrote. Aren’t the best science tricks the ones that seem magical?
Now, only one question remains unanswered: How many helium-filled balloons would it take to lift you off your feet?