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Balloon Displays

remmy460

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Will a balloon filled with propane and popped with a high power laser ignite the propane a make any significant noise or light show as the gas burns?
 

Soren

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Not with most of the lasers we have here. It would be possible if you focused a q-switched YAG inside the balloon, with sufficient power you could create a small spark capable of igniting the propane. Search Google for "ssy-1"
 

IsaacT

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Stick a bit of flash paper on the inside of the balloon lol....
 
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If you put a match head in or even a part of a match head even a little bit should do it.
 

remmy460

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How about Acetylene? Would that have a higher explosive reaction that hydrogen? I am using a 1 W Spartan Blue. I can pop balloons in less than a second, but I would really like to put on a show. I am in an area where I have lots of room and could be very safe. Acetylene actually seems more available than hydrogen, so if it has an equal or higher explosive reaction, I will use it instead.
 

Cyparagon

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The temperature will only get high enough to weaken the balloon. Maybe 200C for a split second - not nearly enough to ignite your typical flammable gasses.
 

hakzaw1

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stick flashpaper onto outside of balloon- BE CAREFUL esp w/ Acetylene
I have seen garbage bags of it get lit and it can cause a pants full or worse.
 

remmy460

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thanks for the advice. I will get some flash paper and try various gases. Propane I have. Hydrogen or acetylene, I will have to rent a tank from a welding shop. I can try the match head idea, Maybe a couple glued right next to each other on a balloon. That would definitely be the least expensive. Flash paper is not cheap.
 
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Try it with ether/starting fluid...it autoignites at 338 F Just dont use too much.
 
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You will need a tripod if you plan on aiming it at a reactive target on the balloon. Even then if you use a match or something similar. You will need to be aimed exactly on the match otherwise the balloon would burst releasing all of your gas and no epic boom.

I think if you were going to ignite gas. You may as well do it in a safer manner using some kind of electronic trigger like a bottle rocket ignition fuse or something.
 
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remmy460

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I have found a local supplier of hydrogen at a very reasonable price. If I fill a balloon with hydrogen and use a little flash paper to ignite the Gas will it ignite with a decent flash and noise? I am hesitant to use acetylene because I have seen many posts that state it is a bit more unstable and can be extremely loud when ignited. So, what do you think. Hydrogen with flash paper taped or glued to the outside of the balloon. Will it give me a decent display?
 

Cyparagon

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Are you sure you know what you're doing? Pyrotechnics and amateurs don't mix well, and this sounds like something an amateur would do. We're gonna feel pretty stupid for helping you if you end up burning someone's house down.
 

remmy460

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I appreciate the concern Cyparagon. I live on a 12 acre hobby farm out in a rural area, with large breaks between any now harvested fields. I will do this methodically. First with the balloon taped to a board and a good distance away from me to test how much to fill the balloon, how large a sheet of flash paper I need as a target etc..., I would then most likely tie the balloon to string at increasing heights as I learn more. Really what I don't know is what the best gas to use is, and what the best method for ignition is. There seems to be some debate on both subject as I have read through many different threads on essentially the same topic. I really do want to do this safely and in a manner that I learn as I go. Maybe acetylene is the better gas. Maybe some flash powder or a few grains of gun powder in the bottom of the balloon is the right way to go. I have trouble imagining that igniting match heads would be very easy at any distance as they are so small. So, again, I really do appreciate the concern and please understand that I am asking so many questions and researching my options as much as possible, so I can learn this safely and make a fun effect repeatable over time without great effort.
 

remmy460

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It may also ease some of your concerns to know that I have added a Spartan 100MW green laser and a 5MW green laser to my collection, so that I can experiment with effects of laser line generator ( I think will be my next purchase) and possibly some of the crystals available from CNI. The descriptions of what each do is quite vague on the site, so that is another area of searching and learning I am actively pursuing. The line generator looks like a great effect, but I am not sure how it would work with a hand held laser on a stand. I am going to call CNI and discuss and hopefully get more thorough explanations. There online chat support is not very helpful.
 

Atomicrox

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Go with the flash paper, it's easier to make a larger target area and ignites easily as well.

100mW is too low to do this at a safe distance.
 

remmy460

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Hello Atomicrox, I also have a Spartan 1W Blue 447nm laser. That should increase the distance and shorten the time to ignite the flash paper.
 




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