# How Helium Balloons Work

With NASA resorting to unmanned helium balloons for scientific studies as a part of its Scientific Ballooning Program, it has become obvious that the use of these gas balloons is no more restricted to amusement parks. It is important to understand how they work.

Abhijit Naik

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2019

*"Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object".*

How Helium Balloons Work?

Helium balloons are basically gas balloons that are filled with helium gas, which is considered to be the best option among the various lighter-than-air gases that can be used in gas balloons. In fact, helium is the second lightest element in the observable universe - with only hydrogen being lighter than it.

How Much Weight Can Helium Balloons Lift?

As far as helium balloon lift is concerned, it is directly proportional to the volume of helium within the balloon, which, in turn, is directly proportional to the size of the balloon.

**Volume**

**of Sphere = 4/3 π.r**where r = radius and π = 3.14 (approx)

^{3}If the diameter of balloon is 10 ft, its radius will be 5 ft.

Therefore, the volume of helium will be 4/3 × 3.14 × 5 x 5 × 5 = 523.33 cu ft.

**Payload Capacity (gm) = Volume of Helium (cu ft) × 28.2 gm (approx)**

If the volume of helium is 523.33 cu ft, its payload capacity will be 523.33 × 28.2 = 14757.90 gm (32.53 lbs).