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How to Make a Solar Oven
There are lots of great reasons to learn how to make a solar oven! Maybe you’re going camping. Maybe you’re interested in learning about different ways to concentrate the sun’s energy. Maybe you’re interested in methods of cooking that don’t add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Maybe you’re just hungry! In any case, as long as you’re patient and willing to move your oven where the sun is, you’ll be rewarded with some hot, yummy food.
Several scientific phenomena are involved in making your oven the best heater it can be. Heat is the form of energy (sometimes called thermal energy) that is transferred by a difference in temperature. You want to transfer the sun’s heat to your solar over. Reflection is the throwing back of light, heat or sound by a body or surface, like a mirror. The shiny foil you’ll use in your oven will reflect the sun’s light and heat inside your oven. During absorbtion, energy is taken into a material rather than reflected. You will line the inside of your oven with black paper so it can absorb the light and heat being reflected into it. Another energy process you should be familiar with for this project is convection, which is the transfer of heat by the movement of a gas or liquid. You’ll use plastic wrap to make your oven airtight so the air warmed by the sun doesn’t leave your oven through convection. One final energy term important to this project is insulation. Insulating materials prevent heat leaving your oven through radiation. That’s why you are going to line the inside of your oven with a cheap and effective insulator—newspaper!
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.