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 Balloon in a car (Posted on 2004-12-16)
You work for a balloon delivery service and you are delivering a single, helium-filled balloon in your car. To prevent the balloon from bouncing around on the ceiling while you are driving you have tied a string with a weight on it to the balloon. The weight is resting on the floor and the balloon is floating just below the ceiling.

When you accelerate, does the balloon stay where it is, move backward, or move forward? What does it do when you make a turn?

Assume all the windows are closed and the vents are turned off so there is no air flow inside the car to affect the balloon.

 Submitted by Sing4TheDay Rating: 3.6667 (3 votes) Solution: (Hide) As the car accelerates forward, inertia forces the air inside the car backward compressing the air behind the balloon and pushing it forward. This is because the air is heavier than the helium-filled balloon, and thus acts as all heavy things do in a car that's accelerating: move backwards. Similarly, when rounding a curve, the balloon moves into the curve..(from Mathematical Carnival by Martin Gardner)

 Subject Author Date Rental Car Service in UK CodyDunning 2023-08-07 23:53:18 Puzzle Thoughts K Sengupta 2023-04-17 12:26:07 A practical application Steven Lord 2020-12-09 20:31:31 re(3): SOLUTION IS WRONG Sing4TheDay 2008-12-23 14:35:40 re(2): SOLUTION IS WRONG JayDeeKay 2007-05-09 18:54:24 re: SOLUTION IS WRONG Ansh 2006-10-07 14:53:01 SOLUTION IS WRONG Jud 2005-08-11 13:26:52 re: No Subject Hugo 2005-07-29 18:20:17 No Subject Jason Taylor 2005-07-29 17:46:26 Re: 'Relativity' solution François 2005-01-06 18:04:00 worthless vije 2004-12-29 14:58:29 scuba Larry 2004-12-17 14:34:19 re: hmm.... Sam 2004-12-17 08:56:11 hmm.... John 2004-12-17 05:48:28 re(2): Solution (spoilers) Sing4TheDay 2004-12-16 17:03:16 re: Same solution, different reasoning Michael Cottle 2004-12-16 16:47:18 Same solution, different reasoning Sam 2004-12-16 15:52:59 re(3): Solution (spoilers) nikki 2004-12-16 15:48:32 re(2): Solution (spoilers) Eric 2004-12-16 15:20:51 re: Solution (spoilers) nikki 2004-12-16 14:38:10 Solution Eric 2004-12-16 13:40:40

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