My 9-year-old son needed an idea for his school science fair so we got together and made a simple DIY Solar Food Heater.
The following materials (which had been destined for the trash) were used: [Pic001]
One empty box of office paper with its cover
One used comforter bag, the kind that has a zipper on it
Six large bags of chips, the kind with the shiny silver inside
Something to hold the food, we used the metal rack from our Thanksgiving disposable roaster pan. This worked well for heating the food already in plates. On the hot dog experiments we used shish-kabob sticks
Small piece of cardboard
Carefully open the potato chip bags along the seams [Pic003 & 004]
Clean the leftover potato chip residue using a moist paper towel [Pic005]
Tape the bags together with packing tape, thus creating one large silver paper[Pic006, 007 & 008]
Using the paper fasteners and a small piece of cardboard for support: attach the center of the paper to the inside bottom of the box [Pic011, 013 & 028]
Use paper clips (or cloths line pins) to hold the paper in place around the edges of the box [Pic012]
Cut off the excess paper from the edges and firmly tape the paper edge to the box [Pic014]
Remove the paper clips
Place the solar box inside the comforter bag [Pic015]
Place the food holder in the unit, zip it up, place it in direct sunlight and you are done. [Pic030]
We ran numerous tests and learned that on days with 100% sun (no clouds) and temperatures of 70 degrees plus; our homemade Solar Food Heater worked.
This Science Project was meant to demonstrate energy conservation by heating our lunch with solar power, however, we were also able to cook hot dogs taken form a 42 degree refrigerator! For the hot dogs we needed temperatures of 80 degrees plus and no clouds.
We also tested the unit by placing a house thermometer in it (no food) at an outside temperature of 72 degrees; in half an hour the thermometer hit its limit of 130 plus degrees!
Americans can collectively reduce our energy consumption with this simple DIY Solar Food Heater.