The total cost of materials will be about $10 or less. Some of these items can be easily found around the house. This project will about 2-3 hours to assemble. Also, if foam board is not available, you can replace it with cardboard.
1 cardboard box
3 yards of foil
1 roll of tape
Foam board (14.5 inches x 14.5 inches and 17 inches x 17 inches)
1 yard of Saran Wrap
1 pair of Scissors
1 box cutter
Dimensions of the final project:
Width: 16 inches
Length: 16 inches
Height: 23.5 inches
The way that the light enters into our solar thermal cooker is that the sunlight reflects off the “walls” of the hybrid box cooker, which are all shiny and reflective cause they’re covered in aluminum foil, and goes towards the center of the cooker. The sunlight goes through the clear saran wrap and is focused onto the center of our black base. The light is focused towards the center because the largest “wall” on our cooker is bent down in a way that focuses the sunlight on the center.
Since our base is black, it absorbs the most light energy. This light energy goes into the box cooker, and with this extra energy, the molecules start to move around more. Since the molecules in the materials of the box cooker are moving around more, they begin to heat up. As a result, the light energy gets transferred into thermal energy. The heat energy is then transferred to the pan which heats up and cooks our hot dogs.
During our second trial, we inserted the pan near the center and shifted the foil wings to concentrate the sunlight onto the center and onto the pan. After five to fifteen minutes, pan heated up and started to cook two hot dogs on the pan. We waited until the hot dogs turned a little bit darker, and that's how we knew that the solar cooker was working and actually cooking our hot dogs.
Some adjustments or changes to improve our hot dog cooker may be to get more stronger materials to cover our cooker with. The clear saran wrap was not durable or secure, so the heat still escaped the box cooker even though it was supposed to trap the heat inside. Also, it is important to make sure that the solar cooker is placed in a strategic location in which it would face the sun at all times. We recommend that all the surfaces are smooth and that there are not many bends and ridges on the surfaces because the more ridges there are, the less sun gets reflected.
Our group worked diligently to make this project possible, and our teacher Mr. Bording supplied us with the materials that we needed. If anyone use our steps to build a solar cooker, we hope it works for you, and good luck!