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On Thursday Sept.4, 2008 there will be the dedication ceremony for the new Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory building on the campus of UIUC. High profile guests like Chancellor Herman and Arden Bement, director of NSF, are expected to come. Campus Middle School for Girls ( CMS) got invited to participate in this event and after the ribbon cutting CMS girls will launch 300+ orange and blue balloons from the top floor balcony of the new building. CMS will combine this balloon launching event with a science experiment the girls can perform. This hands on science exploration is in accordance with the strong emphasis on science in the CMS curriculum. UIUC physics students offered to help with the design, preparations, and performance of the experiment as an outreach activity for the community. This will definitely be an exciting and fun exposure for the girls fostering their interest in science.

For any questions regarding the event, working with the girls, or CMS, contact Eva Kammel, kammele@campusms.org. As long as school is not in session yet: cell: 217 898 3221

Science Project


Several large balloons with a payload containing temperature/humidity loggers will be launched (the miniature loggers are iButtons, which the manufacturer MAXIM http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/ donated to this project. The speed and altitude of the balloons will be calculated based on video camera pictures. In order to recover the payload in the vicinity of the launch site, an electronic timer circuit will initiate the release of the load after a few minutes (The string to the main lifting balloons will be burned through, while the remaining balloons support a smooth landing). The proper functioning of the timer is monitored by LEDs. The atmospheric data will be read out by computer, correlated to the altitude and analyzed as a classroom project.

Reference: saba.pdf

Data analysis

  • Here is a map with the locations where the first two balloons were found and their guessed travel route: BalloonRoute.pdf.
  • Attached is an Excel file with the data from iButton 1, which was a one minute temperature data logger: Balloon1.xls.
  • And here are some plots that are useful to determine the maximal height due to the temperature drop and from that and the change in pressure the change in density:
    • Functional form of the temperature and pressure versus height:

    • Functional form of the density versus temperature for various pressures:

Internal information for students in the Balloon Team

Plan for preparations


Data Logger

Eva sent a request to Maxim on 8/13 for following parts: blue dot Receptor DS1402D, 4 temperature logger DS1921G, (absolutely necessary) , 1 humidity/temperature logger DS1923 (would be really great) , 1 USB adapter DS9490B

GOOD NEWS: Maxim granted us all the parts for free and they already arrived Champaign!

Timer Circuit

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheetxls Balloon1.xls r2 r1 manage 135.5 K 2008-09-10 - 18:25 PeterWinter Data file with temperature with 1 minute intervals
PDFpdf BalloonRoute.pdf r1 manage 2220.0 K 2008-09-10 - 18:27 PeterWinter  
PDFpdf saba.pdf r1 manage 157.3 K 2008-08-07 - 21:40 PeterKammel  
JPEGjpg temperature_density.jpg r1 manage 243.3 K 2008-09-10 - 18:32 PeterWinter Functional form of the density versus temperature for various pressures
JPEGjpg temperature_height.jpg r1 manage 44.3 K 2008-09-10 - 18:32 PeterWinter Functional form of the temperature and pressure versus height
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Topic revision: r19 - 2011-04-21 - PeterWinter
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