Hot Air Balloon Design

Course Information

New Engineering Course! Coming 2021.

Have you ever wondered how a hot air balloon works? Could you predict how much weight a hot air balloon can lift using a few steps on a simple calculator? Could such a balloon really lift an elephant (or two)?

This course will teach learners how to calculate the lift for a real hot air balloon. In the first lesson, we cover the basic principle of buoyancy, as described by the Bernoulli principle in engineering. Second, we look at how the ideal gas laws of chemistry can be modified to calculate the buoyancy (lifting force) of a hot air balloon. Learners will be provided the equations and walked through a sample calculation to “design” a hot air balloon by specifying the shape and size.

You’ll calculate whether or not a real hot air balloon could possibly lift an elephant (or two), design a handheld scale model, and scale up the model to craft a balloon of flight worthy size.

Learners should have the ability to plug numbers into an equation and use a calculator to solve it. This would be an excellent class for learning how to use a calculator for multi-step calculations. No algebra skills are necessary; however, some experience with algebra may help learners understand where the equations come from.