##June 2012## In the United States The National Helium Reserve supply chain is currently disrupted. The price has spiked and some supplies are not selling to non-commercial users. We have been asking our suppliers and they expect the situation to improve before the end of the year. The reserve is not out, it is said to be at 25-year supply right now, but the U.S. Senate is considering adjusting the current policy which was set in 1996. One notable aspect being considered is giving Scientists priority in the event of a shortage. http://www.physicstoday.org/daily_edition/politics_and_policy/senate_bill_would_preserve_us_helium_reserve http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/10354/1111632-115.stm ##Re-Capturing Helium## Problem: re-capturing helium in a pressurized tank without contaminating it for reuse. Can it be done at low cost? Portable system? Safety? Ad-Hoc solution: releasing enough helium from a balloon for storage and transport To conserve helium between flights, you can use the balloon itself as a storage container. Remember that the UV breaks down the balloon over time, so that this is only a short term, ad-hoc solution ##Finding Helium## Here is a map of suppliers that support public customers. please add to it: See full screen ###AMERICAS### ####USA#### San Francisco Region [Alliance-Atlas Gas](http://www.alliance-atlas.com/) 4 Bay-Area locations, call to check for supply New York City Region * [Liberty Industrial Gasses and Welding Supply, Inc](http://www.libertygases.com/)., Brooklyn NY. Tank rentals, sales and refills. Delivery available. Boston Region * Party City, Newington, NH, $45 per tank, 3 day rental * [Funny Bones Party Supplies](http://gofunnybones.com/), Salisbury, MA, $99 per tank, flexible 7 day rental * iParty, with many locations from Providence through Maine, used to rent helium tanks for approx $45/flight (80 cubic ft tanks), however after being acquired by Party City, this may no longer be the case. New Orleans Region Marse Welding Supply (refill and rental- $39 per tank); Party City (rental- $42 per tank) Portland, Oregon Region Helium is still available at reasonable prices through [Lippman's party store.](http://lippmancompany.com/), as well as [Industrial Source](http://www.industrialsource.com/) Asheville Region ###EUROPE### ####SPAIN#### #####Manufacturers##### [Carburos Metálicos S.A. / Air Products](http://www.carburos.com/productos_sectores/ocio_globos.html) #####Distributors##### Asturias (North of Spain) Loanfer S.L.. Polígono Industrial Puente Sec. Avda. de la Tecnología, Veriña de Abajo 33691 Gijón ##Helium Alternatives## [Solar Balloons](/notes/mathew/5-29-2012/solar-hot-air-balloons) The cheapest and most sustainable method available, but since hot air has 5-15% of the lift of hydrogen, not as controllable and very difficult in wind. [Continue to a page with lots of research on making your own solar balloons](/notes/mathew/5-29-2012/solar-hot-air-balloons). [Hydrogen Balloons](/wiki/hydrogen-balloons) Perhaps the most readily available abundant source of lift, but must be used safely. Hydrogen provides 7-8% more lift than helium. [Methane Balloons](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_(aircraft)) From the 1830's until the 1930's most balloons were filled with coal gas (mostly methane), which provides about half the lift of helium, because it was very cheap and as a larger molecule has a far lower dispersion through the balloon envelope, enabling balloons to stay inflated far longer. That said, with 3.75 times the energy density of hydrogen, a methane balloon providing the same lift as a hydrogen balloon could produce a fire eight times as large....

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
pataxte "I've a small sample size, n=1 flight!, with same kit using a 60 cu ft tank of balloon grade helium., not sure about the precise mix but pretty sure..." | Read more » over 3 years ago
stevie "We usually get 2.5 flights out of our 80 cubic foot tank (of 100% helium?) to lift the same type of balloon you're mentioning. It also lifts 1000 ..." | Read more » over 3 years ago
geoderek "Thanks for this response and very good advice @Bronwen Based on your suggestion, I was able to locate and ascertain the tank purchase and rental a..." | Read more » over 3 years ago
Bronwen "Hi Derek- Great question. I'm in NYC, and I always rent a tank from an industrial gas supplier-- the kind of place you'd go if you're getting weld..." | Read more » over 3 years ago
ryangaia "Thank you @cfastie for answering this and mentioning that that helium "does not have much thermal mass". The temperature was my main hypothesis. No..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
cfastie "Yes, any gas will be less dense when it is hotter and therefore will have more lift. If the gas inside the balloon is the same as the gas outside (..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
sachinjangra553 "Get sarkari result updates on welljob.in " | Read more » almost 4 years ago
SuziT9 "Hi, Bronwen -- Thanks for your post. I was doing similar math, but somehow it still didn't work! We were trying to lift a camera of only about 70 g..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
Bronwen "I look at this webpage ALL THE TIME: https://www.balloons.com/HeliumWeightChart.pdf According to this chart, a regular 11" balloon will lift abou..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
warren "My other thought is to look at what @oscar-brett has done to design a communal activity around using lots of party balloons: https://publiclab.org..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
warren "My first thought on this is that the volume of a sphere grows much faster (it's 3 dimensions, so cubed!) than just adding more balloons (which is j..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
molangmuir10 " https://publiclab.org/notes/liz/02-28-2017/calculate-how-much-helium-you-ll-need-to-lift-your-camera " | Read more » about 4 years ago
Ag8n " Ref web.physics.ucsb.edu/~lecturedemonstrations/composer/pages/36.39-helium-filled balloon " | Read more » about 4 years ago
Ag8n " It depends on the weight of what you are trying to lift. At sea level, based on the ideal gas law, the amount you can lift is 1.02 g of pay load..." | Read more » about 4 years ago
Kmckeown "Thank you cfastie for your input. I invested in two new kites. I have not tried solar or balloon photography, but I'm looking forward to it. I h..." | Read more » almost 5 years ago
mathew "@cfastie mentions the most pernicious fact of flying-- once you start collecting equipment you might never stop. That's true for whichever method y..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
cfastie "A GoPro Hero might weigh 150 grams with the protective case. A Hero Session weighs half that. On a static KAP rig the total weight will be 150g to ..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
liz "Adding another idea, perhaps a solar balloon https://publiclab.org/tag/solar-balloon might be interesting for your use case? @mathew makes these, f..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
mrw0116 "Chris, thanks much for these details. This gives me a much better idea of costs and how much helium I might need. " | Read more » over 5 years ago
mrw0116 "Thanks, Warren. Good to know, but a little scary. " | Read more » over 5 years ago
cfastie "Nine cubic meters for 500 euros is not a terrible deal. That's 318 cubic feet (which is a huge tank, so that's a problem unless you don't really ha..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "Hi! There's some stuff up on this page about using hydrogen, but there are a lot of valid concerns about safety: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydroge..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
cschweik "Ok, email me on the price -- I think I will purchase through you (thanks for the single camera tray). Should I pay through your website? " | Read more » over 8 years ago
cfastie "Lifting two cameras with a Public Lab balloon requires that you fill the balloon to just about its capacity. I think it should be 5.5 feet in diame..." | Read more » over 8 years ago