The air pressure around weather balloons reduces dramatically as they move further away from the Earth's surface. The balloon's casing becomes tighter as the air becomes thinner. This is due to the gas within the balloon expanding. The balloon reaches its full capacity and pops as a result of the increasing gas. Pressure inside the casing equals the ambient atmospheric pressure outside the casing.
Balloons pop because there is no longer enough gas within them to keep their casings inflated. This happens because the gas inside the balloon expands as it gets farther from the Earth's surface. When this happens, the internal pressure within the balloon decreases and it starts to collapse. If it was being held up only by its own weight, it would collapse completely; but since it has material walls, some of the gas escapes through small holes in the casing until the remaining gas is at such a low pressure that it can no longer resist the force of gravity and deflates the balloon.
Popular belief says that rockets explode when the fuel burns up. This is not true. A rocket produces combustion products, which are hot gases, so it is more accurate to say that rockets produce heat. That heat can cause objects nearby to burn, but otherwise leaves them unharmed.
The heat produced by a burning object is caused by the chemical energy contained in the carbon-hydrogen bonds in the fuel turning into thermal energy.
As weather balloons ascend in altitude, the atmosphere gets more rarefied (fewer molecules per cubic meter), which is proportional to the pressure on the balloon's exterior. When the outside pressure is low, the interior pressure causes the balloon to increase in volume. If the pressure remains low enough, the balloon will eventually burst.
This is what happens if a balloon is not properly pressurized. As the balloon rises into the sky, the air inside it is no longer constrained by the weight of other balloons or clouds, and it can expand freely until the pressure returns to normal or it bursts from excessive stress. If there are people watching the balloon, they should avoid taking photos or otherwise disturbing it as it rises because there may not be enough gas left for its return trip.
Balloons used for scientific research often carry sensors that measure various properties of the atmosphere during their ascent. These measurements help scientists better understand how our atmosphere works. Balloons also sometimes carry cameras that take pictures as they rise so that scientists can see what features of the earth's surface they pass over with their experiments.
Weather balloons are usually made out of latex, but aluminum balloons are also available. They tend to be larger than sports balls, measuring about 1 foot in diameter and weighing about 10 pounds when full of air.
When a balloon is filled with air, the number of air molecules inside the balloon rises. As a result, there are more collisions between molecules and the walls. This creates tremendous air pressure on the walls, causing the balloon to expand and inflate.
This is why balloons fill up fast if they are not tied down. The more air that is inside the balloon, the more pressure there is against the wall of the container. This increases the risk of the balloon exploding.
Balloons made from synthetic materials such as vinyl tend to lose their shape over time because they do not contain any natural fibers to help them hold their shape. However, this problem can be avoided by filling balloons only after they have been washed and dried thoroughly.
The type of material used to make balloons affects how easily they will leak. For example, latex balloons tend to leak more than silk ones. All balloons will eventually leak but it depends on the type of material used what the lifetime of the balloon will be.
It is estimated that every year in the United States alone millions of dollars are spent on repairs caused by broken balloons. It is recommended that balloons should be discarded instead of being reused because even if they appear to be still usable, they may suddenly deflate.
The pressure in the balloon's atmosphere diminishes as it ascends, and the balloon begins to expand. This growth continues until the balloon's material is stretched to its breaking limit, at which point the balloon bursts. The higher the altitude, the faster this will happen.
There are two factors that determine how quickly a balloon will inflate beyond its breaking point: the material it is made of and how warm it is. Hot air balloons are usually made from synthetic materials called polymers, which are much more likely to break than natural rubber balloons. A hot summer day can heat these materials up to about 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), which is enough to cause them to fail.
As for cold balloons, they will not inflate due to lack of air pressure. They need something to keep them afloat - ice crystals, water bottles, etc - and when there is no longer any support structure above them, they will always burst into tiny pieces.
The conclusion is that hot air balloons will burst at high altitudes because their materials will be too weak to withstand such low pressures. Cold air balloons will always burst at high altitudes because there is no force strong enough to hold them up.