We describe a chemical-engineering experiment that is perfectly suited for STEM clubs, all of which mistakenly consider “chemical engineering” concepts to be “chemistry”. These ChE concepts include extraction, infusion, membranes, molecular barriers, reactors, water filters, desalination systems, porous solids, heterogeneous catalysts, adsorption, absorption, desorption, diffusion, distillation, chromatography, and others.
Latex and Mylar™ balloons are perfect candidates for the study of helium permeation through a membrane. Cheap latex balloons filled with helium provide what you pay for: short lifetimes at a ceiling. In contrast, expensive Mylar™ balloons filled with helium also provide what you pay for: long lifetimes. Millions of cheap latex balloons – all filled with helium -- are used each year in the United States. They are all a waste of helium.
“Balloons: An Introduction to Chemical Engineering” -- which is being published in Chemical Engineering Education (CEE) during 2018 -- discusses experimental work that significantly extends the lifetime of latex balloons -- using a patented polymer liquid called Hi-Float -- by blocking the pores. The experiments. were performed by two students, Nathan (age 14) and Andrew (age 11). A total of 20 balloons (10 latex and 10 latex-with-Hi-Float) were tested during 2017.
QUESTION: What is Hi-Float? ANSWER: Search Google for the phrase, Hi-Float patent. You get many links to companies that sell Hi-Float. A useful YouTube link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PensHd5q5s . You can read the entire Hi-Float patent, including claims, at http://www.patents.com/us-4629511.html .