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 1. Why do balloons float?

Helium (He) is a non-flammable, colorless, odorless, and tasteless inert gas. When inflated with helium, balloons float because helium is lighter than air.

2. From what are balloons made? 

Balloons are made from a variety of materials including latex, foil, Mylar®, & vinyl. Latex is all natural, liquid rubber produced from rubber trees. Foil balloons are made of nylon sheeting, coated on one side with polytheline and metallized on the other. With properties enabling it to withhold helium better and longer than latex, Mylar® is a polyester film made of Polyethylene Terephthalate (boPET). Produced from an organic compound, Vinyl is a soft, flexible plastic.

Metal Tone
Concord Grape
Happy Birthday
Over Da Hill
Assorted Spray
Super Agate
Swirling Hearts
Mardi Gras
Metallic Gold Heart
Plastic Sapphire


3.      What are the environmental implications of using latex balloons? 

Latex balloons are not harmful for the environment, as they are 100%, biodegradable.  After inflation, the latex begins to breakdown when exposed to the atmosphere and sunlight.  About three hours after a balloon is released, it will float to approximately five miles above the earth, oxidize, freeze, and then shatter into small pieces.  When the pieces fall to the ground, natural decomposition takes place.


4.      What causes the high-pitched voice associated with inhaling helium? 

The sound quality of a person’s voice will change after inhaling helium, because helium is less dense than the air in the atmosphere.  Although the gas is nontoxic, inhaling helium can displace oxygen in the body, which will cause headaches, dizziness, labored breathing, and eventually unconsciousness.


5.      Why are balloons so loud when they pop?

Air is compressed inside of an inflated balloon.  When a hole is created, the pop that is heard is the sound of energy released instantly.   Since this speed is much higher than the speed of sound in air, the hole in the balloon actually breaks the sound barrier, creating a sonic boom. 

6.      What is Hi-Float®? 

Hi-Float is a non-toxic solution containing a water-soluble plastic that extends the float time of a latex balloon.  When dried inside of a balloon, the solution that is similar to the adhesive on the back of a postage stamp, forms a coating which helps to hold in helium.

7.      How long will a balloon float?


Float Time*

@ 68 – 72 degrees

Float Time*

w/Ultra Hi-Float®


12 – 14 hours

1 – 3 weeks


26 – 30 hours

2 – 5 weeks



30+ hours

3 – 7 weeks


Geo Donut or Blossom

18 – 24 hours

3 – 10 days



36+ hours

3 – 8 weeks



14 hours

3 – 8 weeks


3 – 5 days

6 – 20 weeks

18” Mylar

5 – 10 days


36” Mylar

2 – 3 weeks


 * Please remember that these are estimates based on typical indoor conditions and following all of the instructions contained in this website. Flying time will be less if outdoors. Flying time varies greatly due to factors such as latex quality, humidity, temperature, altitude, etc. Balloons typically half as long in hot, humid weather. For maximum floating life, hand-tie balloons.

8.      How much helium would it take to lift a person?

A helium balloon experiences an upward force that is equal to the weight of the air it displaces (the buoyant force on the balloon) minus its own weight. At sea level, air weighs about 0.078 pounds per cubic foot, so the upward buoyant force on a cubic foot of helium is about 0.078 pounds. A cubic foot of helium weighs only about 0.011 pounds. The difference between   the upward buoyant force on the cubic foot of helium and the weight of the helium is the amount of extra weight that the helium can lift, which is about .067 pounds per cubic foot. To lift a 100 pound person, you'll need about 1500 cubic feet of helium in your balloon.

Note: Taken from  How Things Work, Virginia Education

Balloons Over Atlanta
1231 Collier, Suite H
Atlanta, Georgia 30318

P: 404.231.3090
Fax: 404.231.3096

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