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Once you have your parabolic trough or dish, use it to heat a quantity of mineral oil to the temperature you want to cook with. Store mineral oil in an insulated container (thermos) to retain the heat. Use that heat to cook at a later point in time, well after dark or even first thing in the morning. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil's temperature as it heats & remove the oil once you reach your preferred cooking temperature.
This will allow solar cooking at midnight, if you like. A solar trough should heat your mineral very quickly. After that, store it and use it to cook whenever you feel like it within the next 24 hours, wherever you feel like cooking, be that inside your kitchen or out doors while camping.
if you want a solar cooker, use the formulas here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabola or http://www.intmath.com/Plane-analytic-geometry/4_Parabola.php Mark/ measure and cut out one half of a parobolic curve on a piece of plywood( your template). Cut multiple 1/2 parabolas and build it round to form a "dish" formation. ( make sure you have flat edges on the floor) Then line your "dish" with reflective material to focus the sunlight. (Personally , I like cut mirrors for maximum reflectivity) So a circular 1 foot dish gives you approx 113 sq inches or about 78 watts of focused energy. Enough to melt a marshmallow. Using an 8ft satellite dish equates to 7238 square inches or about 50 ft^2 and in full sunlight should focus enough energy equivalent to power a small microwave oven or approx 5000 watts. Thats enough concentrated light to melt the plastic and electronics inside the dish feedhorn or ignite a marshmallow in a couple of seconds.
Posted:Jan 28, 2008
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