I am planning to use an air compressor to inflate a rubber balloon. I need to size the compressor for inflating the balloon, but for sizing the compressor I need the pressure required to inflate the balloon. So, can anyone guide me to calculate the required pressure for inflating a rubber balloon?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What will you use for your scalar field? ;-) $\endgroup$
    – twistor59
    Jul 16, 2013 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ What is the thickness of the rubber balloons wall, what is the initial diameter, what is its modulus of elasticity? $\endgroup$
    – Georg
    Jul 16, 2013 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ I think the question should be asked as: How to determine the pressure inside a balloon with radius $r$, and elastic modulus $\lambda$? I know a nice-simple answer to this question, which is $P=\frac{2 \gamma}{r}$, where $\gamma$ is the surface tension. $\endgroup$
    – Ali
    Jul 16, 2013 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ @twistor59 Bahaha. It's not helped by the fact that I just watched a talk on inflation and did a double take at the question title and "everyday-life" tag. Then I realised this is one of those times where normal people use words differently than I do. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jul 16, 2013 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


A typical human can exert an over-pressure of ~$9.8kPa$ with their lungs. Given that balloons are designed so that a human can inflate them, I'd say go for a pump that can deliver $10kPa$ of pressure (that's around $1.5psi$ in case you were wondering).


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