10,000 meters 9,000 meters 6,000 meters 3,000 meters 1,000 meters Sea Level
It's a Breeze - How Air Pressure Affects You

Altitude Image Map

Ride a Balloon to
10,000 Meters

As you move the mouse over the altitude scale to the left, you'll notice that the balloon changes shape and size.

Why Does the Balloon Change?

Imagine that the balloon in the picture to the left is sealed so that no air can escape from the balloon. As the altitude of the balloon increases (exterior air pressure is indicated by the green arrows), the air pressure outside of the balloon decreases.

The amount of air in the balloon stays the same (interior air pressure is indicated by the blue arrows) and therefore so does the pressure that it exerts outward.

When the balloon reaches a height where the interior air pressure is greater than the exterior air pressure and the pressure exerted by the balloon's fabric, the balloon will burst. In this case, at which altitude will the balloon burst?

Find out more about air pressure.

Updated: January 22, 2003