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Alien Balloons

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#5619
Fun:*** (2.77)
Difficulty:** (1.91)
Submitted By:im_para_noid*****
Corrected By:adam




Aliens have inflated two identical balloons, but one is inflated more than the other. You have the option of being inside the smaller balloon or the larger balloon. Once inside, your captors will join the two balloons by a short length of tubing. Then they will let the air flow freely between the balloons. Does the smaller balloon expand as the larger one shrinks? You have to make the right choice, because, alas, you have claustrophobia and therefore want to choose the balloon that will eventually give you the most room for movement. Which balloon do you choose?

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Jul 25, 2002

You said at the start the two baloons were identical
Jul 26, 2002

Yes, but one of them is inflated more.
Jul 26, 2002

Cathal: the two balloons were both red and were 50 cents at Walmart. Their names ar Bob and Bob, and they both have a slight problem with gingerbread.
Jul 27, 2002

sorry missie, but they are actually named George
Jul 27, 2002

Jul 30, 2002

The answer does not make any sense. Intuitively it is obvious that since the larger balloon is more stretched that it should have higher pressure, so air should flow from the larger to the smaller.
Aug 06, 2002

You're all fools. If both balloons are connected, then they will become the same size. Air will transfer until the pressures are equal.
Aug 07, 2002

DON'T call me a fool.
It was stated that the two baloons were identical therefore they will have the same elastic force and will equalise once connected
Aug 18, 2002

I agree with Yoda448, eventually both will be of the same size.
Sep 04, 2002

If you don't believe that it works like that, try it! You'll find very quickly that he's right.
Sep 04, 2002

Identical balloons that are different?
Oct 23, 2002

you all are soooo stupid. elastic force?
this has nothing to do with it. i am assuming you did this little experiment on earth. where the pressure was a constant 1 atm. whereas if the balloons were identical and filled with the same substance (ill assume its your hot hot air) then they would become equal unless affected in some outside way. The outside pressure acting upon the balloons would cause this. Its elementary stuff
Nov 18, 2002

The answer given is correct folks. It's one of those situations that is counter-intuitive. Most people think they will equalise, but they don't. It's been done many a time in science classes. As was suggested earlier, do it yourself and you will see.
Mar 16, 2003

Good teaser. Caught me out at first but then I remembered that I once blew up some balloons at a birthday party. Yep! They do blow back more when they're little! Any one care to use the scientific method? Just one minor point. When the smaller balloon reaches a certain stage of deflation it will cease to shrink further. It won't go down to a vacuum.
Nov 26, 2003

Don't you just love teasers that people just have to have a huge debate over?
Oct 29, 2007

Feb 16, 2015

Slight problem with this, if the balloon that gets inflated the most isn't inflated past a certain point then the logical idea of them equalizing to the same size will happen. Also if the balloon that got inflated the least also got inflated past that point then when air is able to flow between them they will stay the size they originally were. From the information given there is no way to determine whether the larger balloon will then increase, decrease or stay the same size when air is allowed to flow between them.

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