Solar Ovens are a great way to use renewable energy to cook food at low temperatures over a long period of time. Rather than use an electric stove or gas stove you can utilize the energy from the sun for free. This experiment is a fun project to construct and is fun to use. Also, the ovens are a great way to save energy and save the planet. The cardboard flaps covered in aluminum allow sun to bounce off and heat the oven. The black paper and plastic or glass cover are used to hold the heat in once the sunlight passes through the cover and converts into heat.
In order to make the solar oven you will need:
- 2 boxes with one about 3-4 inches smaller than the other (the sizes of the boxes don't matter as long as you can find a glass frame or plastic cover to fit over it)
- Paper (newspaper or a lot of spare paper)
- Aluminum foil
- Duck Tape/ or masking tape
- A thick plastic picture frame cover or a glass picture frame (depending on your budget and the size of your boxes)
- Black construction paper
- A spare box to create the outside flaps
- A thermometer
- A ruler (for more exact cuts)
Step 1: Step 1: Cut the Flaps and Fill With Paper
- Use the larger box of the two and cut triangular flaps so that none of the flaps overlap each other
- Next, Use the newspaper of scratch paper and crumple the pieces up adding them to the bottom of the box you just cut. Make sure to spread the paper out evenly throughout the box and fill as you need based on the size of your smaller box. Remember: the smaller box must fit inside the larger box with the paper with space left in between.
Step 2: Step 2: Add the Smaller Box and Tape
- Cut the flaps of the smaller box off
- Add the smaller box and place it inside the larger box leaving the flaps of the bigger box out
- Maneuver the larger boxes flaps over the smaller box and tape down in order to keep the smaller box in place (tape with duct tape)
Step 3: Step 3: Cover the Inside of the Box With Tin Foil
- Cover the entire inside of the box with tin foil leaving some excess hanging outside the large box.
- Tape down the foil on the outside of the box. However, stay clear of taping the inside of the box/ oven with tape because it might melt.
Step 4: Step 4: Cover the Bottom Paper and Add the Lid
- Cover the entire bottom of the box with black paper. It should sit on top of the tin oil you used to cover the box.
- Stay clear of taping the inside once again
- Next, add the plastic or glass cover to the top of the box leaving no gaps or holes in the oven ( want the heat to stay in the oven). You may need to trim the sides of the glass or plastic in order to cover the oven without any excess material hanging off the edges of the box.
- Tape one side of the cover down with duct tape. Make sure you can open and close the flap.
Step 5: Step 5: Cover the Left Over Flaps With Tin Foil and Tape
- Use the leftover cardboard and left over flaps and cover them with tin foil.
- Tape the flaps to the rim of the oven allowing them to lean at approximately a 110-130 degree angle. Don't tape the flaps straight up or else the sun will not be able to bounce of the flaps and heat the oven.
- Continue to add flaps until the entire rim of the box is covered with no spaces left open, preventing any sunlight to escape.
- Leave space to ensure the plastic or glass lid can be opened and closed.
Step 6: Step 6: Measure the Temperature and Cook
- Add the thermometer in a way where it is still hanging out of the top of the oven to be read. However, make sure it is inside the oven with the cover tapes down around it so the heat does not escape. Check the pictures for reference.
- Place the oven in the sun and test the temperature. Adjustments may need to be made over time.
- Decide what to cook and try it! We used marshmallows and cookies dough.
- It may take a while for the food to cook if your temperature only reaches 100 degrees. Keep adjusting and try to get the temperature to 140 degrees if you can like we did. Keep in mind the temperature of your oven depends on how sunny it is outside.
- Cook and Eat! (You may want to use a small pan, metal or aluminum foil to cook your food if those materials are available to you).