We are building a solar cooker for residential use in developed countries. The current model is designed to be powered by a 100W solar panel.
Our model is a box made of wood, with several layers of fiberglass insulation. The dimensions are approximately 21.5 x 21.5 x 16 inches. We designed around a 10 inch pot 5 inches tall. We have incorporated fiberglass cloth as a means to separate the pot from the fiberglass insulation in an attempt to prevent fiberglass from contaminating the cooking. We currently also have a layer of aluminum foil between the insulation and the fiberglass cloth. The heat will be delivered by several heating elements from a 3D printer, contained within a steel rig.
|The wooden exterior without insulation.|
In a preliminary test, we were able to bring approximately 2 L of water to a boil in around 4 hours. The weather started off cloudy, but changed to sunny rather quickly and stayed sunny for the rest of the test. We did not optimize the panel’s angle relative to the sun.
We were also able to bring approximately 1 kg of ice to a boiling temperature in about the same amount of time. However, due to our thermometer’s inaccuracy we are unable to provide results for below about 75o F. We did not optimize the panel’s angle relative to the sun for this test, either. We also noticed, unfortunately, that our prototype heating element began experiencing slight amounts of corrosion. However, as this test did not contain substances to be ingested we decided to test with the corroded element.
Unfortunately, our method of reading power has been rendered unusable, so we only have temperature readings over time at this point.
In the future we plan to redesign the heating element to prevent possible corrosion. We also plan to decide on a method of adhering aluminum foil or some other solid, malleable substance between the working area and the fiberglass insulation to better prevent the fiberglass insulation from contaminating food and getting in lungs. We are also hoping to procure the data logger from other research groups to use in a test.
4th year Physics Major
4th year Mechanical Engineering Major