Can you use part air/part helium in balloon clouds?

by Lorraine
(Leicestershire)

Balloon Cloud

Balloon Cloud

I was just wondering, as to save on helium, if in a balloon cloud I could use some balloons filled with air?

And if its possible, how many needed to be filled with helium (out of 9 balloons) to make it float well?

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Thoughts for using less Helium.
by: Oliver Twist

[The following response (edited) is reprinted here with permission.]

I am assuming by "Balloon Cloud" you mean the topiary type decoration, such as the following -
www.partypaper.com/BalloonArt/cloud9cluster.html

The quick answer is: Yes, it is possible to fill some balloons with air and still have the Balloon Cloud float. But then... what are the consequences?

1. The less Helium you use in the Balloon Cloud as a whole, the less time it will continue to float.

2.The less Helium you use, the less lifting ability the Balloon Cloud has to carry any other add-ons (ribbon or tulle).

An untreated latex balloon filled with 100% Helium actually has a relatively short float time. This chart should be helpful:
www.hi-float.com/floatlife.html

If you will be reducing the percentage of Helium, I recommend treating the balloons with Hi-float to get the maximum float time, and lifting capability, from the Helium you will use. But then, are you still saving money using less Helium but adding the expense of Hi- float? With the current high prices of Helium, you very well may if you go with a 60% Helium / 40% air ratio. This link may help:
www.hi-float.com/cost.html

Hi-float significantly increases float time which adds value to the sculpture. A sculpture that will float 4-days (treated) is perceived to have more value than one that will only float 12-24 hours (untreated). So, Hi-float can easily pay for itself if the client can benefit from and is willing to pay for the extended float time. Also, you can have more flexibility in when and where you create the sculptures.

Methods to reduce the Helium used:

1. Use an air/Helium mixing regulator. There is even a variable type available. See:
ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/balloondecorating/photos/view/469e?b=1

2. Use a balloon sizing template and follow the instructions on this page to achieve about a 60/40 mix without the special regulator. (see method 2)
www.hi-float.com/savehelium.html

3. In a nine balloon cloud, inflate a couple of the balloons with air, the rest with 100% Helium (still, Hi-float *all* of the balloons, air and Helium filled). This, though, forces you to make a hard choice. Dividing the whole sculpture into nine equal segments, the balloons, means that each balloon represents about 11.11% of the whole sculpture. If you inflate 3 balloons with air, the whole sculpture attains about a 67% Helium / 33% air ratio. If you inflate 4 balloons with air, the whole sculpture attains about a 56% Helium / 44% air ratio (which *may* be too much of a Helium reduction).

Another small problem is, depending on where you place the air filled balloons in the sculpture, the whole sculpture may float a little lopsided unless you can find the right balance, which may take extra time and fiddling.

So, yes, you can fill some balloons with air to save on Helium and still have the Balloon Cloud float but, it may not be the best solution.


~~ Oliver Twist ~~
(((;oD))/\/\/[[ jem ]] : usa


- moderator -
groups.yahoo.com/group/balloondecorating/

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Use Part Air / Helium in Cloud 9 Decor
by: Margit

Michael Clay from "www.balloonguymike.com" was so kind to share his advice with us:

"You can... but I wouldn't. It drastically kills float time on 12" balloons. They only float about 16 hrs anyway, so now for every one thats floating it is also holding another which will mean it will float for less time.

The easy way to do this is to use an inflator that allows you to put air in with the helium but these are expensive and only a professional decorator would have them..."

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