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Solar energy project need help

  1. Jan 11, 2004 #1
    i need help on a physics project that is due tuesday. the objective is to use a small solar collector to collect energy, and turn that energy into other forms of energy, ultimately to heat a beaker of water. my goal is to change it from solar to posibly chemical or something else, then heat energy, but i have no idea how to do it. i just dont know what to do with the project. any ideas would be greatly appreciated. if you have an idea, post it and/or email me at bfoleyx3@yahoo.com. thanks a lot.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2004 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Could you just use a big parabolic mirror (or a bunch of small mirrors) and a black metal frying pan?
  4. Jan 12, 2004 #3


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    Plant some fast-growing bush in a small greenhouse. Cut the bush, burn it in a fire and put the kettle on.

    Probably couldn't do it by next Tuesday tho.
  5. Jan 12, 2004 #4
    I like the idea from russ. Seems the simplest, especially if you use strategically arranged flat mirrors(for cost consideration).

    As an interesting side note, I read during research into solar energy that the watt equivalence of a 1-foot square surface illuminated by the sun at high noon is between 250-750 watts, depending on where you live in the US and the season.
    Of course, devices utilized to convert this equivalence to electricity falls far short of its potential, but is an interesting fact nonetheless, and perhaps helps drive the industry towards more efficient collector/convertor schemes.

    Back to your project. If multiple mirrors cannot be obtained, you could use aluminum foil as the reflector surface, glued or taped to sections of cardboard. Alternately, you could obtain a large plastic salad bowl, or perhaps even an umbrella, and lay the foil inside.

    Whenever one works with solar energy, especially that which involves the suns reflectance and concentration, caution is clearly warranted. The temperature at focus can easily reach high and dangerous temps., burning your skin or eyes if not handled correctly.
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