Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Almost As Green As a Clothes Line

Part One: Your Homework
We did it! I didn't want to spend a lot of time posting about the solar oven until it really worked and today was a complete success! It is sooooo cool! I baked bread and made beef stock for Pho soup without using one ounce of nonrenewable energy. It was as simple as the clothes line. Place the clothes on the line in the sun and they will dry. Place the food in the box and it will cook with the small exception that the sun oven was probably a little more involved to construct, but using it is simple.
The weather here in Rogers, AR was in the high 80's low 90's all day with clear sky's in the morning and a few clouds in the afternoon. We were able to get the solar oven slightly above the 250F mark by about 10:30am. I had planned to make a sheet marking the time, outside temp and oven temp, but hey life happens and I'm not super women. We'll do that another day as a school project.
So, now you know it is possible. Here's how to get started. First do a little research and design an oven. Here are my two favorite sites: http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/The_Solar_Cooking_Archive_Wiki and http://www.solarovens.org/. The video on the second link is a must see. It is the reason I wanted to start experimenting with a solar oven.
Second, I had a class for the children. We talked about heat and how to best trap it. While Sam was gone to Iraq I put an oven together really quickly and it didn't work, so we talked about why it didn't work. Here is what the kids came up with.
  • black absorbs heat, thus the inside of the oven needs to be black.
  • the heat must be trapped, like in a closed up car, thus you need a glass or clear plastic lid and it must be as air tight as possible.
  • the oven must be angle towards the sun
  • reflectors help concentrate and direct the heat and can be made from a variety of shiny objects, including metal, aluminum, or old mirrors.

Third, we put these principles into action and gave them some pencil and paper. They can up with some great designs, including putting the oven on wheels so it is easier to follow the sun through out the day. Samuel designed a solar grill, which was very smart and I found one like his on youtube that actually works. We plan to design one of our own at some point. Ultimately, we used some of their ideas and came up with something mom and dad thought would most likely work and could be constructed with easy-to-get materials.

Next we gathered materials and constructed our solar oven and twittered around with it until we were successful. I will post materials and how-to next time.

1 comment:

Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts with me.