An inflatable [citation
last = Topham
first = Sean
title = Blow Up: Inflatable Art
publisher = Prestel Verlag
location = Muenchen
id = ] is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with
air, but hydrogen, heliumand nitrogenare also used. One of several advantages of an inflatable is that it can be stored in a small space when not inflated, since inflatables depend on the presence of a gasto maintain their size and shape. Function fulfillment per mass used compared with non-inflatable strategies is a key advantage. Stadium cushions, impact guards, vehicle wheel inner tubes, and emergency air bags employ the inflatable principle. Inflation occurs through several strategies: pumps, ram-air, billowing, and suction.Typical examples of an inflatable include the inflatable boat, the balloon, the airship, furniture, kites, and numerous air-filled swimming pool toys. Air beamsas as structural elements are finding increasing applications. Balloons are inflatables.
Smaller-scale inflatables (such as pool toys) generally consist of one or more "air chambers", which are hollow enclosures bound by a soft and flexible airtight
material(such as vinyl), which a gas can enter into or leave from through valves(usually one on each air chamber). The design dependence upon an enclosed pocket of gas leads to a need for a very durable surface material and/or ease of repair of tears and holes on the material, since a puncture or tear will result in the escape of the gas inside (a leak) and the deflation of the inflatable, which depends on the gas's pressureto hold its form. Detectable leaks can be caused by holes (from punctures or tears) on the material, the separating of seams, the separating of valve parts, or an improperly shut or improperly closing valve. Even if an inflatable possesses no macroscopic leaks, the gas inside will usually diffuse out of the inflatable, albeit at a much slower rate, until equilibrium is reached with the pressure outside the inflatable.
Many inflatables are made of material that does not stretch upon inflation; a notable exception of this is the balloon, whose rubber stretches greatly when inflated.
Inflatables are also used for the
constructionof specific sportspitches, military quick-assembly tents, camping tent air beams, and noise makers. Inflatable aircraft including the Goodyear Inflatoplanehave been used. Inflation by dynamic ram-air is providing wings for hang glidingand paragliding.
Inflatables came very much into the public eye as architectural and domestic object when synthetic materials became commonplace. [citation
last = Dessauce
first = Marc
title = The Inflatable Moment: Pneumatics and Protest in'68
publisher = Princeton Architectural Press
id = ISBN 1568981767] . Iconic structures like the US Pavillion at the 1970
Osaka Expoby Davis and Brody [citation
last = Heyer
first = Paul
coauthors = R. K. Lochner
title = American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century
publisher = John Wiley and Sons
id = ISBN 0471285293, 9780471285298] and
Victor Lundy's travelling pavillion for the Atomic Energy Commissionpopularized the idea that inflatables can be a way to build large structures with very extendend interior spans without pillars. These great hopes for inflatable structures would later be dashed by the many practical difficulties faced by inflatable buildings, such as climatization, safety, sensitivity to wind and fire proofing that, currently, restrict their use to very specific circumstances.
DVD"Ant Farm" has directions for making your own inflatables, using plasticbags and an iron. The low technological barrier to building inflatables is further lowered by DIY instruction sets like the Inflatocookbook [citation
last = The Ant Farm
title = Inflatocookbook
publisher = self published
url = http://www.letsremake.info/inflatocookbook.pdf
id = ] .
patentwas granted in Australia in 2001 for a "Manually portable and inflatable automobile" (Australian Patent Number 2001100029), however no known practical form of this type of inflatable has yet been commercialised. [http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/searching/patsearch/search_section.jsp?sectionCode=DTL&keyNo=2001100029&type=I]
Large scale low-pressure inflatables are often seen at festivals as decorations or inflatable games. These are made out of rip stop nylon and have a constant flow of air from a blower inflating them.
A distinction is made between high-pressure and low-pressure inflatables. In a high-pressure inflatable, structural limbs like pillars and arches are built out of a tough, flexible material and then inflated at a relatively high pressure. These limbs hold up passive membranes. The space where the visitors or inhabitants stay is at normal atmosferic pressure. For example, airplane
emergency rafts are high-pressure inflatable structures. Low-pressure inflatables, on the other hand, are slightly pressurized environments completely held up by internal pressure. In other words, the visitors or inhabitants experience a slightly higher than normal pressure. Low-pressure inflatables are usually built of lighter materials. Both types of inflatables (the low-pressure type more so) are somewhat susceptible to high winds. A recent inflatable, built for architectural and design experimentation, is the CICCIOmodule.
In some cases, an inflatable roof is added to an otherwise traditional structure: the biggest example in the world is currently the
BC Place Stadiumin Vancouver, British Columbia. Another example can be found in the Roman amphitheater of Nîmes.
Inflatables for entertainment
The original inflatable game was the
Moonwalk (bounce house). Today there are a wide variety of inflatable games that come in all shapes and sizes. Many inflatable games put people in head to head competition with other people such as the bungee run and gladiator joust. There are also several inflatable obstacle courses available. Because of their large size, most obstacle courses consist of two or more inflatables connected together.
There are also several variations on sports games which are made portable thanks to inflatables. A sports cage is an inflatable cage that holds up a backdrop that resembles a sport (e.g.
baseball, American football, soccer, golf) in which you throw, toss, hit or kick a ball at a marked spot on the backdrop. The cage not only holds the backdrop but keeps balls from flying everywhere. Some sports cages come with a radar gunthat will tell you the speed of your throw or kick.
During the 2000s, inflatables have replaced the plastic blow-molded yard decorations used as
Christmas décorat many U.S.homes, and are also now used as Halloween décorand for other occasions as well.
These are made of a
synthetic fabric, of which different colors have been sewn together in various patterns. An electric blowerconstantly forces air into the figure, replacing air lost through its fabric and seams. They are internally lit by small C7 incandescent light bulbs (also used in nightlights), which are covered by translucentplastic snap-on globes that protect the fabric from the heatif they should rest against it.
Inflatables come in various sizes, commonly four feet or 1.2 meters tall (operated with a low-voltage DC
power supplyand a computer fan), and six or eight feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) tall, running directly from AC mains electricity. Like inflatable rides, outdoor types are staked to the ground with guy wires (usually synthetic ropeor flat straps) to keep them upright in the wind, though being rather flimsy this does not always work. Heavy snowor rainwaterwhich has accumulated may also prevent proper inflation.
While these store compactly, there are disadvantages, including the large amount of
electricityneeded to constantly keep them inflated. While they can be turned off in the daytime, this leaves the figure deflated, and subject to the rain and snow problem. Freezing rain, heavy snow, or high winds may also cause inflatables to collapse. Additionally, like a tent, they must be completely dry before being packed for storage, or mildewmay be a problem (especially if kept in a basement).
Decorative inflatables are made in many popular characters, including
Santa Clausand snowmenfor Christmas, and ghosts and jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Several trademarked characters are also produced, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Winnie the Pooh, and Snoopyand Woodstock from " Peanuts". There are also walk-though arches and " haunted houses" for children, and items for other holidays like Uncle Samfor Independence Day, and palm trees for backyardsummer cookouts.
Since 2005, there are also inflatable
snow globes which blow tiny styrofoambeads around on the inside, the blower's air jet picking them up and through a tube to the top, where they fall down inside the clear vinylfront. On others, mainly for Halloween, lightweight foam bats or ghosts spin around like confettiin what is called a " tornadoglobe". The figures inside both types are also inflatables.
Since 2006, several of these have
motion, which is driven by the air itself and the Venturi effect. The original is a merry-go-round(usually surrounded by clear vinyl for support), another from 2007 is an airplanewith moving propeller. Ghosts may also have streamers which blow around where the air escapes.
Examples of inflatables
(plus various other inflatable
swimming pool toys of various shapes and sizes)
inflatable movie screen
* [http://www.a-irco.org/ Association of Inflatable Rental Company Operators]
* [http://www.biha.org.uk/ British Inflatable Hirers Association (BIHA)]
* [http://www.china-inflatale.com/ China inflatables]
* [http://inflatable.idans.co.il/ idan's inflatables]
* [http://www.creatableinflatables.com/ Creatable Inflatables]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
inflatable — [in flāt′ə bəl] adj. that can be inflated n. something inflatable; specif., a boat made of rubber, plastic, etc. that is inflated before it is used … English World dictionary
Inflatable — In*flat a*ble, a. That may be inflated. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
inflatable — which since the 1950s has been used as a noun as well as an adjective, is spelt without an e in the middle … Modern English usage
inflatable — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ capable of being inflated. ► NOUN ▪ a plastic or rubber object that is inflated before use … English terms dictionary
inflatable — [[t]ɪnfle͟ɪtəb(ə)l[/t]] inflatables 1) ADJ: usu ADJ n An inflatable object is one that you fill with air when you want to use it. ...an inflatable dinghy... The children were playing on the inflatable castle. 2) N COUNT An inflatable is an… … English dictionary
inflatable — in|fla|ta|ble1 [ınˈfleıtəbəl] adj an inflatable object has to be filled with air before you can use it ▪ an inflatable mattress inflatable 2 inflatable2 n an object that has to be filled with air before you can use it, especially a boat or toy … Dictionary of contemporary English
inflatable — I UK [ɪnˈfleɪtəb(ə)l] / US adjective an inflatable object must be filled with air before you can use it II UK [ɪnˈfleɪtəb(ə)l] / US noun [countable] Word forms inflatable : singular inflatable plural inflatables an object that you fill with air… … English dictionary
inflatable — adjective Date: 1878 capable of being inflated < an inflatable boat > • inflatable noun … New Collegiate Dictionary
inflatable — in|flat|a|ble1 [ ın fleıtəbl ] adjective an inflatable object must be filled with air before you can use it inflatable in|flat|a|ble 2 [ ın fleıtəbl ] noun count an object that you fill with air before you use it, for example a ball or boat … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
inflatable — 1 adjective an inflatable object has to be filled with air before you can use it: an inflatable mattress 2 noun (C) a rubber boat filled with air … Longman dictionary of contemporary English