ANSWERS: 1
  • How shall we characterize "an average party balloon?" What size? Latex, Mylar or other? How thick is the material? Does it have flaws? Was it inflated near bursting before being released? Or just about half way to bursting? What percent of the fill gas was helium? If filled just shy of bursting, it could pop at any moment, even before ascending. If filled to only about half its capacity with 10% helium, a balloon might rise a few hundred feet (or thousand?) and stop as the density of the somewhat pressurized gas in the balloon becomes only sufficient for neutral buoyancy. If the surrounding air is very cold and humid, latex could become brittle or ice crystals could form sharp points that could compromise the balloon. Someone might come up with a better answer than mine, but I don't think there is a meaningful "average" answer.

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