Top Melt, was: Re: [balloon-makers] personal history/confession

Donald L Piccard balloon at
Tue Apr 17 12:04:35 CDT 2001

On Tue, 17 Apr 2001 14:33:47 -0700 "Bill Whelan" <bwhelan at>
> Small balloons with big burners require something special...

We have hung a horizontal curtain a little above the equator in the
center of the balloon to mix the contained air in an attempt to increase
the average overall temperature of the air mix and therefor increasing
the total lift, a long time ago with limited success.

I think somebody recently patented something similar to this, but I don't
recall any details on that.

It would have to be a very high temperature material.  We used the
Veteran's Administration surplus pajama check because it was very cheap
and also light weight.  Being inside the balloon, the color didn't
matter.  Light weight bed sheet soaked in fire proofing soda should also
work to protect the top.

Overheating model paper balloons can burn the top out easily.  I always
recommend putting a plastic blow out patch in the top to prevent that -
just the opposite of this problem.

Don Piccard, Balloon at Juno.Com,
1445 East River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55414-3625
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