HSMM and balloons
philmt59 at aol.com
Sun Oct 21 09:17:45 CDT 2012
There is a long 'hidden history' of fatal accidents involving hydrogen in the pioneering days of ballooning. Although the majority involved ground-based fireballs before launch (more pioneer hydrogen balloonists died on the ground than ever fell out of the sky), people forget that these were the days when the hydrogen was generated at the point of use, usually by dropping ingots of magnesium into barrels of concentrated sulphuric acid - a somewhat hazardous procedure. However, we know that handling hydrogen is a difficult business - these are tiny molecules which cheerfully permeate metals, get into places where they shouldn't be and escape from where they should be confined.
Acetylene, by comparison, explodes with a much more violent shockwave.
What is needed is for scientists either to invent a lighter gas with no dangerous properties (why haven't they done that yet?), or to invent an ultra-lightweight, rigid material capable of supporting a vacuum - the perfect lifting void.
On 21 Oct 2012, at 05:32, wb5mmb wrote:
> I have known a couple of people who worked with H2 at chemical plants and they hated the stuff. One even showed me his scars. The big things seem to be ease of ignition and burning with no visible flame. That being said I don't think it is that much worse than acetylene.
> At 10:49 PM 10/20/2012, Doug Gentges wrote:
>> Here in Denver, our local high altitude balloon group EOSS was paying over $300 for a He 300 ( about 260 SCF) until mid summer, when we were told it was no longer available at any price. We're now paying $18 for a similar sized bottle of H2.
>> It does wonders for the budget, although we have a small number of members who want nothing to do with H2. We call that the Hindenburg effect.
>> I saw that the Red Bull jump needed 180,000 SCF of He for their fill.
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