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Thread: Faking a UFO

  1. #1 Faking a UFO 
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    Hey. I'm not a scientist of any kind, just some random guy with a question. Let's say I wanted to fake a UFO, here is my idea and I would like to know if it would work.

    Take some sort of spherical metal shell, as thin a shell as possible without making it unable to support it's own structure or get damaged too easily to make proper use of it. Inflate it with hydrogen or helium (I don't remember which is lighter). Oh, also lets say the metal sphere has a diameter of...4 meters minimum, but preferably 6 or so meters. Making it pretty damn big for a metal sphere. Of course maybe it wouldn't be metal at all, but some kind of metallic colored shiny cellophane type material? Is there any sort of shiny metallic material you can recommend suited for this?

    So, would it float? If a certain type of metal is needed to make it work, please recommend the type of metal, whether to use hydrogen or helium or whatever else, or anything else you think I should know.

    A reflective metal (or a way to make it reflective if you know one) would be preferable.

    I plan to release it into the sky. Maybe something will come of it.

    I would prefer it to not go above visible height, it would be nice for it to somehow float at low altitude, like 100 meters or less but I don't know how that would be achieved. I wouldn't want it to really fly above visible height. I guess the atmosphere starts thinning at some point but I don't know if that is relevant to getting it to fly at the proper height.

    Also if it is completely sealed how long will it stay floating? I know a typical helium balloon seems to lose it's pressure within a day or two, is that due to small unnoticeable leaks or some other reason?

    Alright thanks...

    [edit] Also if that turns out to work, maybe it would be possible to put some kind of small motor inside that moves a little weight thing causing the UFO to spin in a random direction. The motor would randomly activate, maybe the spin would give it a velocity in some random direction. I don't care what direction it travels, as long as it appears to have a destination and not just floating.


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  3. #2  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    If you can fill the shell with hydrogen at 101kPa (normal pressure at sea level) then it should float to a height of at least a few hundred metres. the thing is, a balloon does not float very high because the gas inside (helium) is under pressure because the gas is forced in. This increases the density of the helium, so it will not rise so far.

    So, you want the shell to be full, but not too full as this will reduce the maximum gheight slightly.

    If using a dense material such as metals for the container, you will need a large volume, so that the surface area:volume ratio is low enough that the mass of the container does not excede the lift caused by the gas inside.

    But really, it's possible to achieve. It's an idea that has been used for decades, in zeppelins.


    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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