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A hellim ballon in a bus

  1. Dec 10, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Consider a hellium balloon with negiligible mass in the bus with all windows closed.
    When the bus is acclerating in ##\mathbf a=a \mathbf i##, where ## \mathbf i## is the unit vector in the positive x direction, describe the status of the ballon and explain the reason.
    If we consider the massive balloon, does your answer change?
    Explain the reason.
    (Status: Does it tilt or not? What are the tilting diraction and angle?)

    2. Relevant equations
    Buoyent force ##ρgV##

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know the answer might be ##tan\theta=\frac{g}{a}## or something like this, but I don't really the reason behide this.
    I think it is related to physics in noninertial frames.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Sincerely.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2012 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Forget about the bus for a moment. What usually happens to the helium filled balloon and why?
     
  4. Dec 10, 2012 #3
    The balloon will float in the air because of the density of the helium is smaller than that of air.
    I just got a new idea, but don't know if it's right or not.
    balloon.jpeg
    Because of the total force is ##\mathbf B+m\mathbf g## which equals ##m\mathbf a##, and I think the direction of the gravity is the same, therefore it is the change of the buoyant force that causes the change of the status of the balloon.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2012 #4

    Borek

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    The balloon will float, or ascend?
     
  6. Dec 10, 2012 #5
    Sorry, bad english, the balloon will ascend.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2012 #6

    Borek

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    OK, why does it ascend?
     
  8. Dec 10, 2012 #7
    Because the pressure at the lower part of the balloon is greater than the upper part of it, and, the buoyant force is larger than the gravitational force, the balloon ascends.
     
  9. Dec 10, 2012 #8

    Borek

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    OK, but why do these differences exist? Do they exist in the zero gravity environment?
     
  10. Dec 10, 2012 #9
    If the balloon is not on a string held by someone, where do you think the balloon is located vertically before the bus starts to accelerate?

    (a) in mid air
    (b) at the roof of the bus.

    If your answer is (b), what do you think the magnitude of the force is that the roof exerts on the balloon?
     
  11. Dec 12, 2012 #10
    No, they always exist in a gravitational environment.
    As for the reason of these differences, I don't really understand your question, sorry...
     
  12. Dec 12, 2012 #11
    My answer is (b), but I don't really know how to figure out the direction and magnitude of the normal force exerted by the roof and the buoyant force which, I think, has something to do with the condition of the windows.
     
  13. Dec 12, 2012 #12
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  14. Dec 12, 2012 #13

    CWatters

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    or at least assume that the balloon is weighted so it has a tendency to float one way up eg with the knot pointing downwards.

    Perhaps it would help the OP to remember that when the bus is stationary gravity (an acceleration) is pulling the air vertically downwards. What happens when the bus and the air in it are also accelerating in another direction. It helps if you have ridden on a bus standing up!
     
  15. Dec 12, 2012 #14

    Borek

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    Let me reword the original problem. Imagine you have a helium filled balloon in the standing bus. Obviously, the balloon goes up till it stops at the roof and it stays there. Now, what will happen when the bus starts to move?
     
  16. Dec 12, 2012 #15
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