Some everyday items are so ubiquitous that we take them for granted and fail to realize their significance. Take, for instance, balloons.
The first balloons were invented by Professor Michael Faraday in 1824. The history of balloons before this invention was quite gruesome, to say the least. People used inflated animal bladders and intestines, designed them into amusing shapes, and gave them away as gifts. When they ran out of animal corpses, the human sacrifices began. After acknowledging this fact, we can only say this – Thank God for Professor Faraday’s innovation!
Now, balloons come in many different shapes and materials, all for different purposes.
Latex balloons are the most common type of balloons. They are made of recyclable latex and mostly come in an oval shape with customizable artwork on their surface.
Foil balloons are made of a thin, non-stretchable film that gives the balloons a shiny and metallic look. These balloons are notably more expensive than latex balloons.
Balloons come in many other materials like rubber, nylon, and polychloroprene.
Materials Used Inside the Balloons
Balloons are mostly filled with air, oxygen, helium, hydrogen, and water.
Types of Balloons
1- Toy Balloons
The purpose of toy balloons is to add some extra zest of fun for the kids to enjoy. These balloons come in different shapes and colors, such as animal shapes, flower shapes, and star shapes. There are also the types of toy balloonsmade of unique materials that allow you to shape the balloons to your liking. These balloons are especially favored forchildren’s birthday parties.
2- Party Balloons
Party balloons are mostly used for decorating the birthday celebrations and other happy events. These balloonsmade of rubber or latex materials are filled with hydrogen, helium, or other lighter gases. These materials are printed with customized messages to give the parties a personalized touch.
3- Hot Air Balloons
Hot air balloons are the oldest means of flying transportation. They have a small envelope on the top to hold the heated air produced by the burner. These giant balloons are mostly made of nylon as it is a heat-resisting material and lasts very long. The hot air balloons come in many different colors and are always fun to ride in.
4- Cluster Balloons
Cluster balloons are very different from the hot air balloons, yet they have the same purpose. In a hot air balloon, a single massive balloon is attached to a basket that carries people. While in cluster balloons, several helium-filled balloons are clustered together, attaching the balloonist through a harness. These balloons add a little more excitement and adrenaline rush to the flying experience.
5- Blimp Balloons
Blimps, also known as barrage balloons, are non-rigid airships. The non-flammable helium inside the balloon’s envelope and its strength maintain the shape of blimps. The only hard structures in these airships are on the external surface and the passenger car.
The barrage balloon’s primary purpose is to defend against low-flying aircraft attacks, as these balloons are only meant for flying low.
Image Description: A blue-and-yellow blimp that features the Goodyear logo
6- Balloon Catheters
There are many kinds of catheters, and the most common of them is the balloon catheter. These are medical purpose equipment used for the catheterization process. The balloon catheters can be inflated during the process when a vein or artery needs to be opened.
7- Observation Balloons
The observation balloons are now a thing of the past, as they were used until World War I. These balloons were filled with flammable gases, so they got easily destroyed while they were in use. The observation balloons had the purpose of gathering intelligence and spot artillery during the time of war.
8- Water Balloons
The water balloons are made of special material that helps the balloons to expand when you fill them with water. These are play-time balloons for having a water fight, so they are usually very small in size. These balloons are mostly inexpensive as they are for one-time use only.
9- Airship or Dirigible Balloons
Airship or dirigible balloon, also known as an aerostat, is the kind of aircraft that can navigate through the air. The giant balloon aircraft is lifted off the ground using large bags filled with a lifting gas. These balloons are shaped like a cigar and have four main parts, including the balloon, propeller engines, a gondola, and steering rudders.
10- Weather Balloons
The weather balloons are used for meteorological purposes. These balloons carry instruments inside them as they float in the sky for a few minutes. They come back down to the ground with several readings, including the height of clouds, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and wind speed.
11- Fu-Go Balloon Bombs
Japan used fu-go balloon bombs during the Second World War. These balloons were filled with hydrogen gas, and they used to carry all kinds of bombs, including the anti-personnel and incendiary devices. These balloons were also known as the silent assistants of World War II at the time.
12- Sky Lantern Balloons
The sky lantern balloons, also known as the Chinese lanterns, are small hot air balloons made of paper. There is an opening at the bottom of the balloons where a small fire is suspended that carries the lantern across the sky. The sky lantern balloons stay airborne as long as the fire is lit and sink back to the ground when the fire ends.
13- Solar Balloons
The solar balloons are usually available in solid and dark-toned colors like black to soak up the solar radiation inside the material. These balloons expand and float in the air because of the heated air. Even though these balloons are considered as toys, it has been suggested that they can be used for exploring the planet Mars.
Some Other Types of Balloons
You can find many other kinds of balloons in the market, including:
- Cloudbuster balloons
- Research balloons
- Hopper balloons
- Ceiling balloons
- Rocket balloons