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Name:  Kyle
Status:  student
Age:  14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

Does a helium filled balloon rise faster in hot air or cold air?

If the only thing made different is air temperature, then helium will rise faster in cold air. The decreased temperature makes the air more dense, heavier. This makes the baloon act a little lighter. It rises faster.

Note that other things, such as air pressure and the helium temperature, can also affect things.


Cold air. It's denser.

Tim Mooney

If the balloon were in a controlled room, and the air temperature is 0 for instance the air would be denser and the balloon would rise faster than in a room filled with 100 degree air, the change of speed would probably be unnoticeable by eye though. If however, this were done outside and the warm air was rising itself the balloon may travel faster due to the rising thermals.


I would suggest trying it! Get two helium balloons, as close to the same size as possible. Time how long it takes for one to rise at room temp. Time the other one in a bathroom or small room that you can heat up (by running the shower or using a portable heater). Good Luck.

Katie Page

Helium gas escapes from a rubber balloon because it is able to diffuse through the rubber. You may have noticed that aluminized mylar party baloons stay inflated much longer because He doesn't diffuse nearly so rapidly through the Al film.

Vince Calder

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