Latex biodegrades with sun, wind and heat.
I would stick to the new polyurethane duo balloons- we have used them outdoors with great success and feel that they hold up much better than mylars. I suggest that you blow them up with air that is the same temperature as it is going to be outside (if possible) and that will help them retain their shape better. The mylars have ink on them that can run, too. Any rain could cause the coating to run.
-- here's the funny part.
Several of the balloons on Treb's rooftop were being held in an electrical room at the top of a skyscraper. Well, when it was time to drop the balloons all went as planned with the 120 balloons he had out on the roof under a canvas but when he and his crew dropped the balloons that had been sitting in the relatively warm electrical room they slowly floated UP! instead of down. -- After they cooled, they then started to drop again. That unexpected effect was the New Year's highlight for him and his crew.
Professionalism: Our clients have been appreciative of the information, education and contingency planning. Nobody planning a large event likes to be taken by surprise. It's good business because it shows you care about the success of the event AND the event chairperson.
O------------------0Hang the ribbon over the duplet. The reason for 3 different lengths is that then they are drying at 3 levels in the room which gives you much more drying space. I do the balloons at night, and by morning they are dry and ready to be assembled. I bag up all the duplets and away we go.
Short arches are generally no problem, because you can do a lot of things wrong and still not push any limits.
The world's longest arch is 518 meters long... more than a quarter of a mile. (New River Gorge Bridge). Obviously, long arches can be built, but they are only attempted by structural engineers who design arches for a living and know what limits to push and how far to push them.
Don't have time to take structural design courses? Ok, here is a layman's arch tutorial, for balloon pros.
To understand basic arch behavior, think in one direction at a time.
Arches are planar structures... they are very thin in comparison to their height and width.
Arches are stiff in response to in-plane loads. In-plane loads include the weight of the arch, the balloons, the lights, etc. These loads are usually small. Stiff structure, small loads, no problem.
Arches are flimsy when loaded perpendicular to the plane of the arch. These out-of-plane or lateral loads include wind loads, arch members bending out of plane (leading to buckling), etc. These loads are usually large. Flimsy structure, large loads, BIG problem.
Looking at arch behavior, you can see that arches provide exactly the opposite of what balloon artists need in an air-filled outdoor balloon arch! No wonder balloon pros have such trouble with them!
So how do you make a long arch that won't fall down? It's not hard if you follow rule 2.
This generally involves stiffening the arch perpendicular to the plane of the arch. There are many ways to to this.
Let me explain letting the wall fight the out-of plane loads and why it is my favorite. Without going into the physics, we'll use a dramatic example. Look at a yardstick. It is about 1/8" by 1" by 36". Lay it across the armrests of a chair with the cross-section oriented this way (1" side flat):
<------ 1" -------> | v +-----------------+ --- | | 1/8" +-----------------+ --- ^ |
Now push down in the center of the yardstick. Pretty flimsy, yes?
Now turn the yardstick so the cross-section is oriented this way (1" side vertical):
--> 1/8 <-- +---+ --- | | ^ | | | | | | | | | | 1" | | | | | | | | | | v +---+ ---
Then push down in the center of the yardstick. Pretty stiff, yes?
Same yardstick, same material, but a big difference in both stiffness and the amount of load it can support without breaking/collapsing. What is the moral of this story?
To stiffen a structure like a yardstick on an armchair, increase its "thickness" as measured in the direction of the applied load.
How does this apply to an arch? Well, tilt your head a quarter of a turn (put your head on your shoulder) and repeat the experiment. Now you should see the parallels :-)
To increase the "thickness" of an arch you can stack 10 arches one behind the other and fasten them together. Now when the wind tries to blow your arch down sideways, the arch will be thicker in the direction of the wind load, so it will be stiffer and better designed to resist the load.
What, you don't have time to build 10 arches and fasten them together? Too much work you say?
OK, then let's be smart about it and learn a lesson from the bridge designers who have found that the first and the tenth "arches" do most of the work of resisting the wind load. As long as the first arch is "well fastened" to the tenth arch, you don't need arch 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or 9.* That cuts down on time and materials, does it not?
However this fastening is crucial. Imagine bending a long ladder into an arch, the way they do in a jungle-gym. With the rungs connecting the 2x4 sides, you have a structure that is many, many times as stiff laterally as a single 2x4 would be. However, if you don't fasten the arches together, you only have two side-by-side, flimsy arches.**
Get in your car and go find a metal arch bridge to examine.
You'll find that there are usually two arches, one on each side of the bridge. This is analogous to our arch #1 and arch #10. To resist wind blowing down the river, the bridge is quite "thick" in the direction that the wind blows. How thick? 4 to 6 lanes thick!!! The arches on each side of the bridge are "strongly fastened" together by the bridge deck and the horizontal members that you see all along the top of the arch.***
(Ignore the vertical members... they just hold up the bridge deck... something balloon arches don't have :-)
For you advanced arch builders, here's a tip. Because of the way that a
"thick" arch responds to lateral loading, thick arches don't need to be as
thick at the top as as the base. This can be used to your aesthetic
advantage. Check this link for ideas:
Again note the horizontal bars at the top which act to "strongly fasten" arch #1 to arch #10.
So if you want to build a long air-filled outdoor balloon arch, build it thick, like an arch bridge. For more balloon arch designs that you know won't fall over, go buy one of those oversize, coffee-table picture-books of modern, elegant, form-follows-function bridges. I've seen several of them at every good bookstore I go to. Look at the pictures of the arch bridges (not the suspension, cable-stayed, or other designs. Their load paths are different). Lastly, here's a couple more assorted tips:
* This is also why "I" beams look like an "I" in
** Fastening the arches together well also reinforces
the arch members
against another failure mode called buckling.
*** Lots of bridges have diagonal members
between the arches too. That's
even better than having only members which just go straight across because
the diagonals form what structural engineers call a "truss."
**** I've seen tent companies use white or blue
plastic 55 gallon drums as
weights... they roll them into place, then fill them with water. Maybe
you could wrap it in tulle :-) :-) :-)
Having two hearts joined together is romantic and symbolizes LOVE to most.
I gather your're planning to lay the hearts on the water? Watch out for chlorine. I'm visualising a basic frame covered with balloons to make a small island that would float on the water with the two hearts (built in) on top. To allow the whole thing to float in the middle of the pool you'll have to tether it in several places back to the pool to ensure it doen't drift all over the place. A nice touch would be to incorporate a small palm tree smaller than the hearts) even a little native hut representing an Island Of Love. Sound romantic enough?
If your budget won't allow such a grandiose feature, try making several hearts at different sizes out of Link-O-Loon chained and allowing them to freely float about on the pool, although some tethering may be needed. This would be a sort of "Sea Of Love" if you catch my drift. I'd basically forget the petals for they may not have a strong enough impact compared to the sculptures.
You could use numerous sizes of air filled foil hearts attached to a weight and allow them to sit on the water then by adding a few helium fill 18" or even a few 36" hearts attached to fishing line and weighted these balloons will float just above the water giving that extra magical look. With the addition of spot lights the or maybe even the pool lights will be enough the whole pool area will come alive.
These light weight, flexible, expandable, plastic frameworks will allow you to create a large sheet of balloons in a single layer. The sheet of balloons will be light enough to float in the pool whether you use balloons inflated 4" in the RMS(TM) Banner or balloons inflated 8" in the RMS(TM) Builder. You can prepare your sheet of air filled balloons off site. You can fold the sheet of balloons for easy transport. You can put the sheet of balloons into the pool at the last minute to keep them as fresh as possible.
You can create a random pattern with the balloons or make any graphic design you desire and have it float flat on the pool. With a little more effort you can even create designs that float vertically or at angles in relation to the water. The plastic framework can be tied to anchors on the bottom of the pool or to anchors on the edges of the pool.
You can connect the RMS(TM) Builders or Banners together with simple cable ties (Zip Ties, or Electrical Ties) to create a sheet as large as you like. You can cut the sheets with scissors to create any shape you like. There are also some specialty shapes available ( Hearts and Stars) that will also float when filled with balloons. For next season you may want to try the RMS(TM) Super Builder. It will hold 18" round foil balloons. The foil balloons will be much more resistant to the summer heat. The Super Builder will not be available for a few months.
The Rouse Matrix Systems(TM) products are reusable, but they are inexpensive enough that you may prefer to build them into the project cost and eliminate the cost of going back to reclaim materials.
While the RMS(TM) products may seem magical in their versatility and low cost, they provide no magic for keeping latex balloon alive in 100 degree heat. Be careful about making guarantees to your customer.