Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Air to air blimp filling

Fill blimp with clouds
  (+2, -6)
(+2, -6)
  [vote for,

Helium supplies are getting low. Clouds are lighter than air. I suggest installing a vacuum pump and exterior intake nozzle in a blimp; the lifting medium in the blimp can be replenished by pulling up to a cloud and sucking some of the lighter than air cloud into the envelope :-)
Sunstone, Oct 05 2008

Helium shortage http://www.google.c...um+shortage&spell=1
Helium shortage [Sunstone, Oct 05 2008]

http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Vapor_pressure [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2008]

Solar Airship http://www.eurocosm...olar-airship-GB.asp
I lost one of these once. Had to call the local ATC... [CJF, Oct 05 2008]

_Everybody needs a blimp_ Flash cartoon that starts LOUD. http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/blimp/
"You can fill it up with air, but that won't get you anywhere." [baconbrain, Oct 07 2008]


       Yes clouds are a little lighter than air. Light enough to lift it's own weight to some height, but helium is WAY lighter than air, light enough to lift itself and other stuff. That is what you need, not clouds. Sorry,(-).
MisterQED, Oct 05 2008

       As a glider pilot, I get pretty up close and personal with clouds! So here's the biography of your average Cumulus Humilis:   

       Formed by rising currents of air (thermals), the cloud is merely the moisture in the upwards going air condenses when it cools to it's 'dew point' temperature. At the edges of the cloud, the water is re-absorbed into the air, and as the thermal dies, the whole cloud eventually dissipates.   

       The cloud has no lift, because it's density is exactly the same as the surrounding air; however the moisture is only in a different form.   

       Rain occurs when you get a big enough cloud that the water droplets start sticking and, circulating up and down, gather enough weight to sink faster than the thermal column.   

       So sucking up a cloud wouldn't help you any more than sucking in air- in other words, your blimp would plummet!!   

       HOWEVER, another idea- get a solar airship (link), but many times usual size, and attach a man-capsule. Difficult to control, but lots of fun (as long as the sun shines...).
CJF, Oct 05 2008

       Sorry, blimp warfare would certainly result as large blimps seek out and engulf smaller blimps in an attempt to become lighter, until the entire airspace is populated by only one, tremendous humongous blimp that's unable to land.
phundug, Oct 05 2008

       To sum up: clouds are not lighter than air; they are falling, it's the air under and through them that is rising.   

       That air is rising because it's hot. Encapsulate that in your envelope and drag it away, and it will soon equalise in temperature with the air around it. At which point you have no lift at all, unless you supply heat with, say, LPG burners.   

       So you've invented a soggy hot air balloon, or a very inefficient glider, or a whimsical image to delight the heart. Pick one.
BunsenHoneydew, Oct 07 2008

       I bun this because clouds have been accumulating for eons up there like dog poop mounds in my lazy neighbors lawn, and only Sunstone has mustered up the gumption to do something about it. It is about time someone did a little clean up. If the clouds can be put to good use, all the better.
bungston, Oct 07 2008


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