Pressure – The Life of the Party

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll discuss pressure within everyday  celebratory balloons.

Pressure – The Life of the Party

Happy birthday! Happy anniversary! Congratulations! Balloons take celebrations to the next level – the more balloons, the bigger the celebration. Often, the climax is a balloon drop. And how do those balloons get inflated – from pressure. What other physical measurement parameter plays such an exhilarating role?


If you have ever had to personally inflate a lot of balloons, the possibility of over inflation and the subsequent and shocking pop is always a concern. So, how much pressure can an inexpensive, thin-wall latex balloon withstand?

One experiment shows that the balloon reaches a relatively constant pressure of 810 mmHg until it gets close to its maximum elasticity point and then increases to 820, 830 and finally 840 mmHg when it pops.

More extensive testing of Mylar balloons conducted by the Federal Department of Aviation in Denmark shows that the pressure required to explode a Mylar balloon at a temperature of 13.8°C and a height of 400 meters is 677 mm Hg. In the same tests, a latex balloon at -20.9°C and a height of 9200 meters required 228 mm Hg.

It turns out that the physics of inflating a balloon are well defined by several laws that show the relationship of pressure to temperature, volume, density and more.

The inflation process can use a pump or simply the exhaling of air from a person. For those with breathing difficulties, the pump is a preferred and perhaps necessary tool.

In fact, the pressure developed from breathing is a key medical measurement to analyze respiratory health. The pressure range for this measurement is about 4 kPa or 30 mmHg and the greater the pressure that the person can develop, the better.

If you are celebrating something or in good health –party on.

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation ([email protected])