A balloon is nothing but a flexible bag made from materials like rubber, polychloroprene, latex and nylon fabric, which is filled with gases like hydrogen, helium, nitrous oxide or air. Balloons are generally used for various decoration purposes for celebrations and parties. But some balloons are used for other purposes such as military, defense, medical treatment, meteorology and transportation. He word ‘balloon’ was derived from the French word ‘ballon’ which means large ball. In Latin ‘ballone’ means ball and from the Middle English both ‘bal’ and ‘beall’ means ball.
The first balloon was invented by a priest Bartolomeu de Gusmao and it was exhibited during an exhibition on 8th August, 1709 in Lisbon. Michael Faraday invented the rubber balloon in 1824 which was filled with hydrogen gas and was used in experimentation. J.G Ingram invented the first latex balloons in 1847 in London, England. The mass production of latex balloons was manufactured around 1930s. Today the party balloons are made up of natural latex from the trees which yield rubber. These balloons were filled up with ordinary air and helium gas, and even sometimes with water for fun and other suitable gases.
All balloons can be easily filled with air, by blowing air into it. Now air pumps are used to inflate balloons. When balloons are filled up with helium gas, the balloon float, i.e. they try to rise up as the helium’s weight is very light. When helium is filled up inside the latex balloons, the gas remains inside only for some time and eventually the helium gas moves out slowly through the walls of the latex balloon as the helium atoms are smaller than the pores of the latex walls so they easily pass through them! This process is called diffusion.
Later in the year 1970, more costly balloons were manufactured / invented which are long-lasting and they are called as foil balloons. These foil balloons are thin, less permeable, unstretchable and made from metalized plastic balloons. Foil balloons are very attractive and has shiny surface, often printed with messages and designs, which are used for various occasions, celebrations and parties. An interesting feature of foil balloons are they are light weight, hence increases the buoyancy and they are able to retain the helium gas for many weeks! Balloons are so much fun, and we could never think of any celebrations or parties without these cute balloons.
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