How do things float?

Creating a floating city I thought it was vital to explore what the term float actually entailed, and how does this actually come about.

Things float when they are totally buoyant, or denser than the space around them. This doesn’t mean the object has to be lighter than what it is sitting in. Instead it means the object must have a greater ratio of empty space to volume than the liquid or space it is sitting in. Gases such as helium are examples of things that will float in air.

Air itself is comprised of oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. All of these have a small weight, and the force of gravity pulls them towards the Earth. Helium, however, has a lower mass and lower density than the air around it, so has less of a pull of gravity acting on it. This allows objects that it occupies, giving they are light enough, to float (see balloons).


Helium is used to create the floating house in Pixar’s ‘UP.’

I was talking to Ryan and Eoin and knew I hadn’t made this up- a floating city in the clouds. In China, 2015, many photographed a cityscape like formation in the clouds. However, many believe this to be the opening of a window onto some sort of parallel universe.

Video courtesy of Brother Karaviro.



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