The vertical motion of balloon systems depends critically on the heat transfer to and from the gas inside because the temperature and pressure of the gas determines the lift of the balloon and its payload. In the past the thermal design of high-altitude balloons has largely been based on a combination of experience, empirical data, and approximate calculations. Recent advances in heat-transfer research have made it possible, however, to calculate the temperature of the lifting gas as a function of altitude and to predict the vertical motion with the aid of high-speed computers. This review presents the results of heat-transfer experiments and theory pertinent to the processes which affect the calculations of balloon performance and the thermal design of their instrument packages.

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