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Fluids Question Regarding Density

  1. Nov 15, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A spherically shaped balloon has a radius of 11.5 m, and is filled with helium. How large a cargo can it lift, assuming that the skin and structure of the balloon have a mass of 1200 kg?
    Neglect the bouyant force on the cargo volume itself.

    2. Relevant equations
    Fb = (Mhe+800kg)g

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I used the above equation to determine the buoyant force acting on the balloon but didn't seem to work. I tried some other methods but i cant get how much it can lift. Need some explanation thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2009 #2


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    What's the equation for the buoyant force on ANY object in ANY fluid? After getting that, draw a free-body diagram on the balloon and note that buoyancy must balance gravity if the balloon is to lift the heaviest possible load.
  4. Nov 16, 2009 #3
    still cant get it...seems like a easy question too.. i am setting Fb = 1200+m+g. I got force buoyant to be density of air (1.29 kg/m3) * Gravity * Volume. Which looks like 1.29*9.8*3583.477 = 1200+m+g. m is the mass of the cargo which i am solving for. i keep getting the mass of the cargo to be 3422.68 which is wrong. any ideas of where i'm messing up?
  5. Nov 16, 2009 #4


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    where did you get Fb=1200+m+g? It doesn't make sense because m has units of kg, while g has units of m/s^2.

    Anyhow, draw a free-body diagram. Label all forces. Then write out Newton's second law. Don't take any shortcuts until you get more familiar with physics.
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