Today for the second time, we are trying to make the flying lampion.
The first didn’t come out well. The fuel was used up and the balloon did not go up. It was made of bamboo sticks, thin metal wire, paper and a plastic bag. To stick together we used tape, treads, and super glue. As a fuel, we used 4 candles. Everything together came out to heavy and the lampion couldn’t fly. It just lightly stood.
For a change, today we are making a different kind of lampion. We are using bamboo sticks, gigantic plastic bag, metal wire and beer can. We use treads to stick bamboo sticks together, to make them longer, super glue to seal the top of a bag (as it is cut peace, the top is open too), and a tape to stick the bamboo with the bag. For the fuel we use a mix of flammable substances; melted candles with a small piece of cloth, small piece of cut plastic bag, and 3 half-candles on the top. We also wanted to put a cotton wool soaked in flammable liquid but we could,t find it anywhere.
We are so excited. The lampion is long ready. We finished the dinner. The tea is making and in few minutes we will, pour tea into the bottle, wear shoes and go.
We came back.
Mom and the littlest didn’t go. We went to the same place as last time. Few turns from our place and somehow you could say that it is a clearing on the back of our house. We stood and I had lighted, by my clumsiness, only 2 candles. We added there some matches so it will be a spark for the mix. Father held the balloon from up and we stood by drinking tea and waiting with excitement.
The 2 candles blew slowly while the balloon slowly stood up. After 5 minutes, the balloon only stood more and was more full. In another 5 minutes the balloon stood almost full. Then the sound of lighting match came and another, and again and then fire blow up. (In Nepal, the matches were nor made of wood but of some kind of paper.) As we stood we had so much hope for it, the younger the more hope he had. The lampion was full but it still did not fly, only stood gently with the help of dad, holding it. We started chanting “Go up. Go up! Fly! Fly! Come on!”. But it still just stood. It was a big plastic bag, it had more than a meter.
In the meantime the fire inside ate all the matches and the smell of the plastic came. The fire became weird, unstable but ongoing. We waited patiently. Then an observer came to see our doings. Another 10 minutes came by and we started to lose hope (some of us has lost it much sooner). The lampion stood still from time to time falling a little when there was not enough fire and then it stood up again when father pulled it up. Then in one moment, the sparkles came and I asked the father what was it. He said that the wax was making such a noise. Sadly the balloon stood still like this for another 15 minutes. I, personally, was impressed by the longevity of the candles, They didn’t finish. We just knew that anyway it will not go up so we just covered it and in a moment it stopped. We came back home but we were not disappointed, as it was just the next try.
Some thoughts on calculations
While looking at the balloon knowing it will not go up the thought came to me, as at this time I was reading a book about physics I learned about the gravity, mass and the calculations, I thought to calculate how much hot air I need to make this much of a mass go up.
As I understand it is like a closed circle and everything must be in a balance to go right – in this situation, up. I need enough fire to make the balloon go up. And I need enough hot air to make it go up. But if I want it to go up I need it to be light. So it must be light, big (if possible) and had a lot of fuel.
In calculation: How much hot air I need, to make it go up. How much fire I need to make that much of hot air. And if I make a big fire, the weight is bigger too. Also if it is too small, there can be not enough air to make it go up.
So as you see it is not so simple… or I just make it so complicated.
After tomorrow is my sisters birthday and we want to make a flying one for her. We have already the plans and constructions for tomorrow. So we will see. Wish us ‘good luck’.