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Helium in tires?

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Old 10-09-2002, 08:54 PM
jds1971 jds1971 is offline
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Helium in tires?

I was just watching TV and saw someone trying to get someone to use helium instead of air.

I don't know- you think it might make these sleds a few pounds lighter- enough to increase gas mileage a little?

What do you think?

Joe
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:08 PM
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Helium in tires?

I once filled a garbage bag with helium and watched it fly into the great unknowm.
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:15 PM
matstangs matstangs is offline
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Helium in tires?

Good old fashion air is still pretty cheap. I can't imagine what helium runs. HELIUM?
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:50 PM
mlf72f250 mlf72f250 is offline
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Helium in tires?

I haven't used the ideal gas law for several years, so I can't, off of the top of my head, do a calculation on how much unsprung weight you'd save.

Since the helium atom is smaller than nitrogen or oxygen molecules I'm guessing it may diffuse through your tires more quickly than air: like helium vs. regular air in balloons goes flat faster.

Interesting thought, though...


--Matt

1972 F250 Custom Sport Camper Special 4x2 360 2v C6 3.73
Soon to have a 104" wheelbase as part of a Broncification project
My FTE Website -- http://www.clubfte.com/users/mlf72f250/index.html
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:21 PM
mlf72f250 mlf72f250 is offline
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Helium in tires?

OK, now you've got me curious!

These are only back of the envelope calculations, plus or minus 10%...

Assuming that you have a 29" od tire and a 16.5" rim that is 9" wide, that gives you (neglecting tire wall thickness) 2.33 cu ft per tire.

Air at 45 psig and 70 deg F has a density of 0.2246 pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft^3). This gives you a gas mass inside the tire of 0.523 lbs.

Helium at 45 psig and 70 deg F has a density of 0.0310 pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft^3). This gives you a gas mass inside the tire of 0.072 lbs.

This change of gasses results in a difference of 0.45 pounds per tire.

It seems pretty small, but races are won by thousandths of a second.

--Matt




1972 F250 Custom Sport Camper Special 4x2 360 2v C6 3.73
Soon to have a 104" wheelbase as part of a Broncification project
My FTE Website -- http://www.clubfte.com/users/mlf72f250/index.html
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:25 PM
jds1971 jds1971 is offline
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Helium in tires?

Sounds like it might be worth a try!!!

The only other thing to consider is how fast does helium expand as compared to air when heated? Would there be a greater chance of a tire explosion in high heat situations?

Joe
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:39 PM
71cc 71cc is offline
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Helium in tires?

Wouldn't hydrogen be lighter ?
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Old 10-09-2002, 11:34 PM
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Helium in tires?

Don't expect a miracle.

I took a 31x10.5-15 tire/wheel assembly and drained as much air out of it as I could without breaking the bead. It weighed-in at 59.5 lbs. I then inflated it to about 60PSI (regular air) and weighed it again. It barely gained a pound; roughly the weight of 10 standard lug nuts. Since helium does have a mass, using it to inflate a tire is only going to make it weigh more than if there was no air at all in there. So thanks to my independent labratory test, I have determined that you will not save much more than a few pounds total vehicle weight by converting to helium. [Actual results may vary with tire size and tire pressure.]

Is it possible there is a different reason for switching to helium such as a different compression factor (better ride quality) or less inner-wheel corrosion?
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Old 10-10-2002, 06:33 AM
jds1971 jds1971 is offline
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Helium in tires?

A few extra pounds could be the difference between winning and losing a race.

Hey 71cc- wasn't the Hindenburg zeppelin full of hydrogen?

Joe
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:22 AM
dla4634 dla4634 is offline
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Helium in tires?

I actually read an article about this in a performance mag. They suggested that you should buy lightweight luguts before this. The air in the tire stays still as the tire rotates and then catches up so it really has little effect on the rotating mass of the tire.
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Old 10-10-2002, 10:17 AM
mlf72f250 mlf72f250 is offline
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Helium in tires?

Yup, under the same conditions, hydrogen is one fourth as dense as helium since it has one fourth of the atomic mass of helium: http://www.cs.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/nph-pertab/tab/periodic-table

But it would diffuse even faster through the rubber walls of the tires.

And yes, you could be driving around with four mini-Hindenburgs (sp?).

And yes, the savings is small.

And yes, races can be won by small things.

Thanks Like M., for the independent laboratory verification. Experimentalists rule!

This forum is great!



1972 F250 Custom Sport Camper Special 4x2 360 2v C6 3.73
Soon to have a 104" wheelbase as part of a Broncification project
My FTE Website -- http://www.clubfte.com/users/mlf72f250/index.html
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Old 10-10-2002, 12:09 PM
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Helium in tires?

Would you have to tie your truck down to keep it from floating away?
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:55 PM
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Helium in tires?

If you're worried about a little extra weight, I suggest:

1. Dieting
2. Leaving the wife at home
3. Never filling gas tank completely up
4. Ditching the spare/jack
5. Etc, etc.
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Old 10-10-2002, 02:16 PM
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Helium in tires?

the hindenburg was filled with hydrogen. It was designed for helium but the main source of helium at the time was in the states. The states didn't want to give the germans helium because they might have used it for war. Helium is less flammable than hydrogen.

Nathan
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Old 10-10-2002, 03:12 PM
karlsd karlsd is offline
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Helium in tires?

"Helium is less flammable than hydrogen."

That's the understatement of the century. Helium is an inert gas, which essentially means that it will not react with anything. You couldn't get Helium to "burn", i.e., combine with Oxygen, if your life depended on it and you had access to the entire nuclear arsenal of the U.S. and Russia.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, is extremely reactive. Although there is more hydrogen on the planet than any other element, due to its highly reactive nature you almost never find it as pure Hydrogen. In fact, most Hydrogen has already "burned". Our oceans, lakes and rivers are full of burnt Hydrogen. It's better known as "water."

You are correct that the U.S. controlled most of the world's Helium supply in the 20s and 30s, and refused to sell it to Germany. That is indeed why the Hindenburg was filled with Hydrogen.
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