You Can Make A Balloon
Yes, it – is probable to – make a balloon. By far, the most common type of balloon today is the hot air variety, which flies because the air inside it made less dense by heating it with a burner, usually fuelled with propane.
However, you have explicitly asked about gas, so I shall concentrate the rest of this answer on gas ballooning.
Make A Baloon And Fly It With Helium Gas
Modern gas balloons usually use helium or hydrogen as the lifting gas. Anhydrous ammonia and methane are two other less common options but are typically only used in the United States.
Helium is expensive but is more commonly used in the United States, while hydrogen is more common in Europe.
Hydrogen is extremely combustible, whereas helium is dormant.
Helium provides slightly less lift than hydrogen but is the more stable gas.
There are at least six factors to consider when choosing a gas for a flight.
1. Compatibility with the balloon system being in use
3. Lifting capacity
5. Locale of flight
6. Inherent gas stability
Typically, the gas selection process for a trip starts with the type of balloon. Hydrogen can be useful if the balloon system is hydrogen compatible, hydrogen is available, and local laws allow its use. If one of these conditions is not satisfied, as is often the case in the United States, then helium is the likely choice.
Why Only Helium?
In practical terms, it’s because helium is cheap. Hydrogen gas would be perfectly safe to use in a balloon, but at least in the United States, hydrogen is never useful because helium is available dirt cheap.
The thing about helium is that it cannot be artificially to synthesize on a practical scale, so the amount that’s sealed away underground is all that will exist on this planet for the foreseeable future. So unlike hydrogen, it is a finite natural resource that is gone forever once used up. However, it’s a limited natural resource that the United States uses frivolously because we have a ridiculously massive amount of it.
There are plentiful natural gas deposits in the Midwest that are unusually rich in helium, and the United States government has been extracting and refining helium from those deposits since 1925. The vast majority of that helium — over a billion cubic feet of the stuff — is stored in an enormous underground rock formation known as the Bush Dome. This is the National Helium Reserve, one of our nation’s strategic stockpiles of natural resources critical to national security.
It is Except helium isn’t critical to national security anymore. The military no longer uses and will never again conceivably use helium-filled airships, and all other uses for helium do not require large amounts of it. As a result, the U.S. government has been selling reserve helium at comically low prices for decades, and it will continue to do so until the reserve is to deplete.