Asked • 03/14/19

Why does a helium filled ballon move forward in a car when the car is accelerating?

I noticed that when I had a helium filled, latex ballon inside of my car, it moved forward in the cabin as I accelerated forward. The faster I accelerated forward, the faster the ballon went from the back of the car to the front of the car. The balloon didn't have a string. This became a game with my 4 year old as we drove home. We figured out where the balloon would go based on how fast I accelerated, turned corners etc. I expected that it would act a lot like the water in a cup does, but it was the total opposite it seemed. What forces caused this behavior? I assumed it has something to do with the fluid dynamics in the closed cabin, but I can't figure it out. Help?

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