Hot Air Balloon Shape and Altitude
Date: Winter 2011-2012
Do different shaped hot air balloons fly higher, lower, or at the same level as traditionally shaped hot air balloons?
Shape makes some difference in the height a balloon will go, because
it determines the amount of material needed to enclose a given volume
of gas. The ideal shape is spherical, because a sphere has a smaller
surface area than any other shape with the same volume.
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Update: June 2012