Q:

How is it possible for one small tank of helium to fill hundreds of balloons?

A:

One small tank of helium can fill hundreds of balloons because helium in a tank is at a high pressure and low volume. When the helium leaves the tank and fills a balloon, the pressure is lowered and the volume of the helium increases.

Keep Learning

The volume of a certain amount of any gas, including helium, is dependent on both pressure and temperature. Gas volume increases with lowered pressure or increased temperature, and decreases with increased pressure or lowered temperature. This behavior is described by gas laws, the simplest of which is the ideal gas law. The ideal gas law is expressed as PV = nRT, where P is pressure, V is volume, n is the number of moles of gas, R is the universal gas constant and T is temperature.

Suppose the behavior of helium is described by the ideal gas law, and imagine holding n and T constant. Then the ideal gas law states that when the pressure is decreased, the volume of the gas increases proportionally in order to keep the product of P and V equal to nRT. This situation is exactly that of filling balloons from one tank of helium. Since the amount of helium is not changing, the change in pressure is what causes an increase in the volume occupied by the helium.

Sources:

Related Questions

• A: At today's rate in 2015, the world will run out of helium in 25 to 30 years, and that means much more than losing birthday balloons. Helium is critical to ... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Helium balloons float because they are less dense than the surrounding air, which causes them to rise. Gravity acts on helium balloons the same way it does... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: The nucleus of helium contains two neutrons and two protons. Around the nucleus of helium there are two electrons in the 1s orbital. These have opposite sp... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: The specific heat of helium is 5.193 kJ/kg Kelvin, according to the Physics Classroom. The specific heat value measures the amount of heat needed to change... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
PEOPLE SEARCH FOR