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[aprssig] Balloon warmth

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Wed Mar 24 02:10:49 UTC 2010


david vanhorn wrote:
>
>
> On Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 7:00 PM, AD4BL <ad4bl at arrl.net 
> <mailto:ad4bl at arrl.net>> wrote:
>
>     An alternative to keeping equipment warm on a balloon flight is to
>     use the hand warmers.   They last about
>     8 hours and provide enough heat to keep equipment operating in a
>     cold environment.
>
>
> And most of them need AIR to oxidize the fuel. 
>
> Kinda scarce at 100k.  
>   

You DON'T need any heating system on a balloon if the flight is going to 
be entirely in daylight.    You don't need the added complexity and 
WEIGHT of chemical or electric heaters.   

Once you  get above  20,000 feet or so (i.e. above most weather), you 
get the full force of raw unfiltered sunlight beating down on the 
payload with far more intensity than even high noon in July on the 
ground.  People keep throwing away this free radiant solar heat by 
encasing their payloads in highly-reflective white styrofoam cases!

Enclose the payload in a mini-greenhouse made from a 2-liter soda bottle 
instead, or paint the metal payload box with alternating black and white 
stripes to absorb more than enough solar heat.   (Hint:   Those 
black-and-white zebra paint jobs on NASA satellites are not for looks.)

[On a related idea (using pop bottles as solar heaters), I recently saw 
a story about a guy in Brazil that threads a stack of clear 2-liter 
bottles on lengths of black plastic irrigation pipe to build el-cheapo 
solar water heaters. He cuts the bottom off each bottle and jams the 
neck and shoulder of each bottle into the open end of the next one, and 
glues aluminum foil around half the the circumference of each bottle to 
create a trough-type collector. ]



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