Lighter than air

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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/09/02 02:31 PM

Has anyone seen Braco's Floating Ball, a new item just added to Hank Lee's hot list (on his web site)?
The amazing claims are somewhat offset by the reasonable price.
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Postby ADG » 05/09/02 07:45 PM

Hello Steve......I just posted the same question under Platform Magic. From the description on Hank Lee's website, this trick has me thinking of an Abbott's Floating Balloon effect called Super Duper Balloon, whereby the balloon really remained suspended in mid-air with nothing attached to it. The principle was the same as the vacuum cleaner displays at dept stores in which a beach ball remains suspended in mid-air just above the vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment. The other method was an engineering marvel invented by Peter Tappen. Anyone else have any input??
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Postby David Nethery » 05/11/02 04:49 PM

Originally posted by ADG:
Hello Steve......I just posted the same question under Platform Magic. From the description on Hank Lee's website, this trick has me thinking of an Abbott's Floating Balloon effect called Super Duper Balloon, whereby the balloon really remained suspended in mid-air with nothing attached to it.
As I posted over on that other thread, I think you are on the right track.

Here are some quotes from Abbott's Catalog of Magic , No. 23 , describing "Super-Duper Balloon" :

"Without a doubt , the closest thing to real magic yet devised in the magician's craft! A large balloon is inflated and held between the magician's hands. Slowly , the hands are removed ----the balloon floats suspended in space, defying the laws of gravity ! There is positively nothing attached to the balloon!
While the balloon is floating the performer may walk away ---- he may even go so far as to sit among the spectators. You will thrill to the spookiness of the balloon floating in space. Hand passes and gestures are made and the balloon floats away from the performer, then floats back towards the performer. To add further mystery , you may pass a solid hoop completely over the balloon from any direction.
At any time, at your command, the balloon will float down to your hands.
This great magic was invented by the late John E. Peyton, an electronics engineer, and first marketed by Abbott's in 1958. It comes complete with balloons, hoop, instructions, gimmick, etc. Notice to customers outside the U.S. : This unit is electrical and must be converted (by you) for use with the power supply in your own country."

end of quote from Abbott's Catalog of Magic, no. 23, June 1990 .
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Postby M. Sibbernsen » 05/12/02 09:37 PM

Originally posted by ADG:
The principle was the same as the vacuum cleaner displays at dept stores in which a beach ball remains suspended in mid-air just above the vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment. The other method was an engineering marvel invented by Peter Tappen. Anyone else have any input??
Alex
The demonstration you mention is a very common science museum display. It is a visual representation of the "Bernoulli Principle", one of the major principles of airplane flight. The force from an exhaust fan pushes the ball into the air, where it remains suspended (and spins) because of the Bernoulii Principle. With an airplane wing, the air that goes up and over the curve of the wing effectively lowers the air pressure above it and gives the plane lift. [ATF Ed. Note- This is just one component of the physics involved. See posts below]. With the ball however, the air is moving up and around its entire surface causing an equilibrium of pressures. Therefore the ball stays levitated within the middle of the air stream.

I suspect this is *not* the method used in Braco's Floating Ball, but rather uses another rather common science principle. One of buoyancy equilibrium. A very nice commercial science toy using this principle can be found here.

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Postby CHRIS » 05/12/02 09:55 PM

Originally posted by Michael Sibbernsen:
It is a visual representation of the "Bernoulli Principle", one of the major principles of airplane flight. ... With an airplane wing, the air that goes up and over the curve of the wing effectively lowers the air pressure above it and gives the plane lift.
This is entirely non-magic, but since I recently have passed my helicopter check-ride and have studied aerodynamics, I wanted to mention that it is not entirely clear today if the Bernoulli principle is the correct way to explain why airplanes/helicopters fly. Physicists and aviators are split among two different explanations.

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Postby M. Sibbernsen » 05/12/02 10:13 PM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
I wanted to mention that it is not entirely clear today if the Bernoulli principle is the correct way to explain why airplanes/helicopters fly. Physicists and aviators are split among two different explanations.
Hi Chris. You are absolutely correct. That is why I added the ambiguous phrase "one of the major principles" ;) . Thanks for bringing that important point up. For those wishing an indepth analysis of the topic outside this magic forum, you can find a very nice article by David Anderson (of the Fermi National Laboratory) and Scott Eberhardt (Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics University of Washington) can be found here...
The Science of Flight
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Postby Guest » 05/21/02 08:09 AM

If the ball is simply filled with helium, you would be very limited in the presentation. The Abbott's Super Duper Balloon setup causes the balloon to move back and forth in a set path. Because you know the path and the speed of movement you can quite effectively appear to control the balloon. There are two problems, however. It's a bit noisy and you must use fairly loud music to cover it. And, audiences are not particularly impressed by having a Balloon float. We've all seen helium filled balloons float. If the ball is well designed and does not appear to be a balloon, that's a definite improvement. Perhaps this is what it is and the method is the familiar science demonstration using a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer blower set up. Does anyone know if this would work with shapes other than spheres? If you could float a pyramid, for example, and if you can create a silent stream of air, then maybe you've got something effective.
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