Friday, August 5, 2011

How Many Balloons Does It Take To Lift A House?

Is that possible?

The answer is YES. But it is pretty impractical.
A team of researchers from the University of Leicester investigated the possibility of lifting a house shown in the film “Up” and for a common house in the United Kingdom.
To do the calculation, one must first make several assumptions:

1)the tethers(line connecting the balloons to the house) are inextensible
2)the volume of a Helium balloon is 5 litres
3)the balloons will not deflate over time
4)the air density is the same.

The paper also assumes that the wooden house owned by Mr. Fredrickson and his wife weighs at a modest 50 tonnes, and an average UK house weighs 2000 tonnes.
The calculation shows that approximately 100 million balloons are needed to lift Mr. Fredrickson's house off the ground, and 4 billion balloons for a common UK house.
While it is possible to lift a house using helium balloons, it would be very impractical for a number of reasons. These include a large number of balloons which will deflate very quickly at high altitudes. Also that the foundations and drainage of the house would be removed making the structure very unstable, if by some miracle the journey is possible.


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