Alternate means of energy are really the need of the hour, especially in this time of high energy costs. Solar energy is one such promising source of energy which is cheap, available in abundance and is absolutely harmless for the environment. In fact, making the switch to solar energy isn’t that much complex and expensive as it appears to be. There are several ways in which you can harness solar energy, a solar furnace being one of them. A solar furnace is device which uses the heat energy from the sun to produce high temperatures. However, if you are thinking that you’ll need the help of a professional to accomplish this task of making solar furnace, then you are mistaken. Making a solar furnace your own is quite simple. The steps given in this article can certainly help you out:
Complexity level: Moderate
Time required: About an hour
- Mirror chips
- Glass cutter
- Silicone caulk
1. Cut the mirror chips as per the requirements
The solar furnace harnesses the solar energy for which it needs to concentrate the sun rays at a small area. This is done with the help of mirror chips which are excellent reflector of light. You can make this mirror chips with the help of plastic or glass. As far as the size of these chips are considered, they must be about 3/4 inch long. If the chips are longer than the requirement, then you can cut them with the help of oil fed glass cutter. You can even use diamond wheel glass cutter, however, the cut made by them are not that much clean when compared with the oil fed glass cutter, so its better to avoid diamond cutters.
2. Make the body of the solar furnace using plywood
While making the solar furnace, you must use 1/2 inch thick plywood. However, the plywood can be thicker than this if you want to make a wide solar furnace. Screws are used to secure the mirrors in place, therefore, you need to pre drill the holes for these screws.
If you want to make your solar furnace very wide, then you have to make four squares of mirrors. Tilt the mirrors towards the center of the plywood. Toothpicks can be used as spacers, you just have to secure them in place with the help of hot glue.
3. Create hinges for the mirrors
Next, you have to create create hinges for the mirrors. At the corner of the mirrors, put a bit of RTV silicone caulk. With the help of screws, you can adjust the mirror still further. Let the caulk dry completely and then secure the mirrors with the help of the screws.
4. Take the solar furnace into the sun
Using post-it notes cover all the mirrors of your furnace. But the the one at the center must be left untouched because later this mirror will be used as a reference for focusing the other mirrors. Your solar furnace is now ready to be used. Take the solar furnace into the sun and then using the center mirror focus all of the other mirrors such that the solar furnace as a unit focuses in the direction of area you want to heat.
What are the advantages of using solar power?
There are several advantages of suing solar power, some of them are listed below.
Readily available: No matter in which part of the country you live in, the sun rays will always be there. However, in colder regions solar energy is not that much fruitful, but still this form of energy is readily available everywhere and that too in abundance.
Significant energy savings: Apart from the installation and the maintenance cost, you literally don’t have to pay even a single penny, obviously because the solar energy is available for free.
No negative impact on the environment: Unlike the fossil fuels, solar energy has no negative impact on the environment. No harmful gases are released in case of solar energy.
1. Make sure that the glass cutters which you are using are oil fed, otherwise, the cur made by them will not be smooth.
2. Silicone caulk takes some time before it dries completely. the mirrors will not align properly if you start working on the caulk even before it has dried.
Things to watch out for:
1. The mirrors which you are going to use in the furnace may have sharp edges, therefore, it is important to handle them properly, otherwise, you may injure yourself.
2. The tools and instruments used for making the furnace must always be kept away from the reach of children, they can harm themselves.