The purpose of this experiment was to determine
which material used in hot air balloons is the safest and toug..I became
interested in this idea when I was on-line looking for a balloon information
when I came across hot air balloon project ideas and I thought that would
interest me and I would like to do it so I decided to try something in
The information gained from this experiment may
be used by anyone who is interested in hot air balloons or races them.
Any students that are in the process of studying hot air balloons may also
My hypothesis was that the polyester would be the
stronger because of how much more it is used to manufacture hot air balloons.
You can heat polyester to a higher temperature without damage than nylon.
I base my hypothesis on sales figures which show
polyester is much more popular for balloon construction and that the manufacturers
use it the most.
The constants for all groups in this experiment
* The size of the material
* The shape of the cloth
* The size of the wood stretching frame
* The mass of weight dropped each time
* The oven temperature in degrees Fahrenheit
The manipulated variable was the type of cloth;
nylon and polyester.
The responding variable was the strength of the
nylon and polyester.
To measure the responding variable I dropped a counter
sink on the material and counted the number of impacts it took to tear
the fabric. I then heated samples of the same material in an oven
and ran the tests again.
||50.8x30.48 cm squares of nylon
||50.8x30.48 cm squares of polyester
||50.8x12.7 cm pieces of wood
||31x18 cm tray
||60.96 cm measuring ruler
||counter sinker with holder
1. Cut 5 squares each of polyester and nylon 50.8x30.48
2. Get 4 wood post that are 50.8x12.7 cm.
3. Take two posts and screw drive the material
around the edges.
4. Twist the material on the boards around one
(1) time and staple the material in place.
5. Get someone to hold the ruler in place and get
ready to drop the counter sink with holder.
6. Make sure that you drop the counter sink from
2 feet above until the nylon is ripped or tore.
7. Try it again three more times to get the results.
8. Then repeat steps 1-7 on the polyester sheets
of cloth until they tear or rip.
9. When you are finished you count how many times
it took you to drop the metal cones until the sheets of cloth tore or ripped
and average it.
10. Take the last squares of the polyester and
11. Take and turn the oven on 250° Fahrenheit.
12. Then stick one sheet of nylon in the oven on
13. Take the nylon out after 1 minute.
14. After they come out, see which one look like
it is in the best shape.
15. Then do steps 11-14 four more times on the
other piece of polyester.
16. When you are done, Take all the pieces of cloth
and see which material looks like it could have lasted longer-in other
words see which one is in the best shape out of all of them and whether
it was polyester or nylon.
17. Then, while theyíre hot, do the first test
on the last pieces of material and see whether the heat strengthened the
material or not.
The original purpose of this experiment was to see
which material used in hot air balloons is the safest and toughest.
The results of the experiment were that the polyester
outperformed the nylon for strength regardless of whether the cloth had
been heated or not. Polyester never broke even with 10 impacts of
the counter sink. The nylon averaged just two impacts of the metal
sink before breaking.
My hypothesis was that the polyester would be stronger
The results indicated that this hypothesis should
be accepted because the polyester never broke, while the nylon tore after
an average of two drops. Polyester was the stronger material.
Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder
if these results would show up the same if it were silk vs. nylon.
If I were to conduct this experiment again I would
try to make sure the weight was the same for both materials and I would
run the test several more times.
Balloonists and hot air balloon manufacturers might
find these results useful. Polyester should be safer for them to
Hot Air Balloon
A hot air balloon is a bag filled with heated air or
a light gas so it rises and floats in the air. A balloon rises because
the air inside the bag is lighter and less dense than the air surrounding.
It was invented in the late 1700ís by the two inventors Jacques Etienne
and his brother Joseph Michael Montgolfier, who were papermakers that started
the balloon experiments with paper bags. On the date of June 4, 1783, the
brothers sent up a large air filled balloon in the public gathering area
in Annonay, France. The cloth used for the balloon was lined with paper
and measured 35 feet in diameter.
The polyester is the material most manufacturers use
for their balloons and it is highly recommended for the strongest. Polyester
has a higher resistance to UV rays. The temperature inside the balloon
can reach 300° and polyester resists heat damage fairly well. Polyester
is any group of polymers that consist basically of repeated units of an
organic salt and are used especially in making fibers or plastic. Itís
also a synthetic, instead of a natural fiber. Polyester is wrinkle and
mildew resistant, other important polyesters are unsaturated polyesters.
Unsaturated polyesters contain unsaturated acid, which is a hydrocarbon
Nylon is not highly recommended or used by manufacturers
of hot air balloons because it does not have as high of UV resistance as
the polyester. It can only withstand at a certain temperature on the inside
of the balloon, which is 50° less than the polyester can hold (250°
instead of 300°). Nylon is any of the numerous strong, tough, elastic,
synthetic polymer made materials that are fashioned into fibers, filaments,
bristles, or sheets and used especially in textiles and plastics. Nylon
is a term for a group of synthetic products, which are made from chemicals
that have been made out of coal, water, air, petroleum, agricultural by-products
and natural gas. Nylon is used primarily in fibers and fabric. It was first
made into hosiery, which was available in 1940. It was the first synthetic
fabric thought to be superior to natural fabrics.
Balloons are usually made of synthetic fibers. Polyester
and nylon are both used but the polyester is more popular in manufacturing
due to its higher tolerance to temperature and UV light.
"Balloons" Encyclopedia of Americana, 1999. Vol.
2. Pg. 117
"Balloons," World Book Encyclopedia, 1991. Vol.
2, Pgs. 57-62
"Hot Air Balloons," http://www.amazingevents.com/am00008.html
December 20, 1999.
Lansdown, Jeff. "Balloons." [Online] Available email:
"Nylon," World Book Encyclopedia, 1995. Vol. 14.
"Polyester," World Book Encyclopedia, 1995. Vol.
15. Pg. 652.
Young, Mary Beth and Dick. "Hot Air Balloon
Fabric Info." [Online] Available email:
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