Gas permeability of latex balloons

Balloons are made from natural rubber which has a special gas permeability to different gases. The leaving of gases goes on 3 steps. At first the gas will be solved on the inside surface. Secondly the gas diffuses through the material and at last the gas leave the outside surface.

The gas permeability of natural rubber to helium is about 20 times higher that to air. Therefore a balloon loses helium very much faster than air.

The gas permeability of balloons can be additionally influenced by following factors:


1. pressure  (with decrease of pressure the gas permeability decrease, therefore the losing of helium becomes  slower when the balloon becomes slack)

2. temperature (with increase of temperatur the gas permeability increases, therefore balloons lose the helium in hot summer conditions much faster)

3. thickness (with a lower thickness the gas permeability is higher, however inflated balloons have a very small and similar thickness)

4. surface (a higher surface causes a higher gas permeability, therefore big balloons lose proportional more helium than smaller, however the bigger ones float longer because of the higher total gas content)

The gas permeability of balloons with a similar size/weight is similar, independend from the manufacturer, because the main influence has the gas permeability of natural rubber.


The losing of helium can be retarded by using some special floating agents. These agents are liquid plastics, which have   a much lower gas permeability to natural rubber. The right dosage and proper dispensation are the alpha and omega to increase the floating time.

For further information please ask us for our technical information "01- Balloons and helium".