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Q & A: Is it possible to inflate a balloon with air underwater?

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Most recent answer: 05/23/2010
Q:
is it possible to inflate a balloon with air underwater?
- Jenny
ottawa, ontario, canada
A:
Sure, if you have a pair of strong lungs or an air hose.  The deeper the water the more pressure you would need since the underwater pressure increases rapidly as a function of depth.

LeeH

(published on 05/19/2009)

Follow-Up #1: pressure and BP

Q:
Given the pressure one mile down is about 150 atmospheres I presume it is not feasible to inflate any type of inflatable object inside the blown out pipes to stop the BP oil spill, but I thought it might be worth asking just in case.
- Len Loker
Indianapolis
A:
I don't think the 150 atm is in itself the problem there. Compressors can reach higher pressures than that. I'm not an expert, but I guess the problem would be that if the balloon managed to block the flow, much higher pressure would build up under it. Everything else injected in there seems to have just been blown out by the oil, which obviously is under more pressure than the water above it.

It does make you sick to think of the enormous damage that will be done before this is somehow stopped.

Mike W.

(published on 05/23/2010)

Follow-up on this answer.