Weird helium balloon experiment with Fizzics Education | Kids Science Experiments


Weird Helium

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

1 Helium filled balloon on a string

Someone driving a car


colourful helium-balloons on a roof

Sit BEHIND the driver and hold the string of the helium balloon.


Have the driver start the car and move the car forwards.


Does the balloon stay above your hand, go towards the driver or go towards the back of the car?

4 A television screen showing a distance educator running science experiment with a bell jar, vacuum pump and a cup of water. There is an inset of a remote class on the screen and a video conference camera on top of the television.
Live remote classes with experienced distance educators

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What is going on?

All objects try to stay in one place unless a force makes them travel somewhere. This is why when the car goes forward you ‘feel’ as if you’re being pushed backward, but really your body is just trying to stay where it was before the car moved. This is called inertia.

Inertia also affects the air inside the car. When the car goes forward, the air inside also tries to stay resting in the spot where the car was parked. As the car accelerates forward, the density of the air increases towards the back of the car. This builds up pressure in the back of the car.

You would expect the helium balloon to travel to the back of the car as well. The problem is that the helium inside the balloon is less dense than the air surrounding the balloon. The balloon tries to ‘float’ above the dense air in the back of the car, causing it to go forward.

Learn more!


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