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Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/07/2018 11:22 AM

I am buiding a balloon car with the goal of moving 10 meters while pulling a small weight. My first idea was to use a compressed air turbine but the way I am picturing the air moving this would not work. Is there any efficient way to convert air pressure to rotation with some torque at a scale small enough to work with about ~15 psi of a latex balloon.

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#1

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 11:41 AM

first off, welcome to CR4...

your post of...

Is there any efficient way to convert air pressure to rotation with some torque at a scale small enough to work with about ~15 psi of a latex balloon.

It's more then just no,... you don't give the weight you need to pull...

unless of course the air that you use to fill the balloon is with a flammable gas and you have a match.

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#2

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 11:58 AM

You might be able to find or make a small gear motor (i.e., reverse-driven gear pump).

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#3

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 11:58 AM
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#6
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 12:43 PM

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#4

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 12:00 PM

Pelton wheel ?

It's not very efficient but relatively easy to make.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelton_wheel

Then you could use some sort of pulley arrangement to adjust to your RPM/torque requirements.
Is the weight on wheels or is this a midget tractor pull?

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#5

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 12:21 PM

It all depends on friction. Hopefully, the weight is on wheels!

It would be best if the car rolls on a hard, smooth surface and has hard narrow wheels with low rolling friction (maybe old CDs), good bearings, and as light as possible.

The amount of energy in the balloon would be about proportional to its volume, assuming it has constant pressure. So a larger balloon is better and a long versus round balloon would have less air drag.

The obvious way to provide propulsion is to jet the exhaust from the balloon rearward.

Or, check this out...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Single-Cylinder-Air-Engine-Balloon-Powered-Rolling/

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#7

Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 12:46 PM

You could take an rc motor and use air

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#8
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 12:54 PM

that 3D printed video is pretty interesting.

if only the OP would return on the weight that's required it to pull.

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#9
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 1:17 PM

Sorry for the long response time.

The 300 gram weight is sitting on the back axles so it is just adding to the mass of the car. I do have access to a 3D printer and I have CAD experience so that is a viable option.

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#10
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 1:32 PM

Is there any restriction on the size of the balloon?

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#11
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 1:50 PM

and can the 10 meters be any direction... like up?

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#12
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 1:52 PM

Here's a simple air engine...really simple

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#14
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 2:35 PM

That is actually a great idea. I may put a jar lid on either end and see if that works. With no weight I can see this being extremely effective.

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#16
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 2:56 PM

I like this one too....you're going to need tight tolerances for no wasted air...

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#17
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 4:13 PM

nice

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#27
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/09/2018 11:14 AM

This would be my choice. as long as the vanes on the turbine can flex and the housing is smooth the air passing through should keep the turbine chamber fairly air tight. The axle could then be direct drive. My big concern is the distance. 33 feet doesn't seem all that far, but the initial air resistance on the fully inflated balloon is a killer so unless you have, as SE stated, a good seal in the turbine chamber you might not make it. And then there is the deflation rate. With this design the deflation rate can be controlled by the input tube size up to a point. Some testing would be required to see what combination would either last the entire length or, if allowed, accelerate the car to such a speed quickly and coast the rest of the way against resident friction, with a flat, less resistance, balloon.

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#13
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 1:55 PM

I have either one or two 9 inch party balloons.

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#15
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 2:41 PM

That's not much to move a can of soup 30'....113 cu inches or 0.065 cu ft....times 2....

Maybe a miniature rolling piston radial motor....

https://contest.techbriefs.com/2012/entries/machinery-and-equipment/2950

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#19
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 7:47 PM

...or alternatively you can buy one for about $25.....high efficiency

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#20
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 10:19 PM

If the project wasn't due Friday that would far and away be the best option. I'm impressed the amount of even obscure things you were able to find to help me with this. I think I am going to do two cylinder engine. If you would like I will post pictures and results here once it is complete.

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#22
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 10:50 PM

Yes I agree...I got so excited I almost bought one....haha....most definitely post some pics....

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#24
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/08/2018 2:53 PM

Please do post pictures!

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#18
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Re: Using Compressed Air from a Balloon to Turn an Axle with Torque

03/07/2018 5:44 PM

Can you push start the vehicle, or does it have to be self-starting?

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#21

Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/07/2018 10:24 PM

Use a spray can containing just carbon dioxide. It is called FREEZE or CO2 capsule for making carbonated water in a SPARKLET container

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#23

Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/08/2018 12:20 PM

How do you get 15 PSI into a latex balloon. That must be one thick walled balloon? I say this is a folly!

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#25
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Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/08/2018 3:44 PM

Yes 15 psi is about average.....

810 mm/hg = 15.66 psi

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#26
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Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/08/2018 3:57 PM

YEP... I posted BEFORE I calculated. I was incorrect. That is the exact video I found too!

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#28

Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/09/2018 1:08 PM

Over the years I have had a few teams of students stop by and ask me to help them design little solar powered cars for school science class competitions. I have found that it is a bit tricky to get them to track in a straight line, so I usually tell them to use large wheels, like 6 inches in diameter made out of that pink insulating styrofoam, very light weight and the larger diameter does not get thrown off by bumps easily. To go 33 feet the wheel only has to rotate only 22 times. Releasing the energy in the balloon into a turbine or piston/cylinder is very inefficient, as anyone who uses air tool will tell you. However compressing the balloon mechanically, and allowing it to expand is very efficient, loosing almost no energy. You might try stuffing your balloon into a 2 liter plastic soda bottle and using that for a starting point. I won't design it for you but this should be more than enough to make something that works, keep it light.

One group of high schoolers had the requirement that the cars be "raced" on the clay outdoor track, 100 meters. My team was the only one that actually made the whole distance as all of the others, with small precision wheels, veered off the track! These were all unguided.

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#31
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Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/11/2018 6:45 PM

This is a great idea and I would love to have used it but with it being about 1 AM for me and the final design is doe tomorrow at 7 AM I don't think it's possible. I had trouble with the piston engine and, after 6 iterations, ended up just making a normal balloon car. (kind of depressing I know)

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#29

Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/09/2018 2:16 PM

Get a better mouser-cat?...

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#30

Re: Using Compressed Air From a Balloon to Turn an Axle With Torque

03/11/2018 12:01 PM

Not quite compressed air in a balloon - compressed air in a plastic pop bottle. Built a few years ago. Use bicycle pump to fill "tank". When valve opened, pushes piston down length of 3/4" copper pipe (piston is salvaged Coleman lantern pump), which pushes rod out the front of the pipe, which pulls a cord, which turns a spool, which turns the belt pulley, which transmits the force to the axle, causing "Puff the Magic Wagon" to go about 100 feet. Whistle mounted on front of pipe sounds at the end of the run to alert passengers they have arrived at their destination.

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