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Balloon Envelope Materials

Special Balloon Fabric
Most balloon manufacturers have their own fabrics, usually in the range of 2 - 3 oz. per sq. yd. It is however nearly impossible to obtain special balloon fabric from manufacturers. This is due, in the USA, to liability problems and in general to marketing concerns. If balloon manufacturers sell fabric to homebuilders they might foster competition to their own commercial systems and ultimately put themselves out of business.

Parachute Fabrics
Some products from the parachute industry are suitable for balloon building.
  • 1.1 oz. calendared ripstop Nylon
  • 1.3 oz. calendared, Silicone-coated, ripstop Nylon;
These materials are available from parachute manufacturers and their suppliers. Parachute fabrics may not have the same resistance to high temperatures as special balloon fabrics. Envelope life is sometimes reduced in comparison with heavy balloon fabrics but experience has been good.

Warning! Materials and ideas listed here are in part unproven and may be hazardous to use in the construction of experimental hot air balloons and airships. Building and flying experimental aircraft involves significant risk and may lead to serious injury or death. Always obtain professional advice when building or flying human-carrying balloons and airships!

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