Introduction We used http://explorelearning.com to create our parabola to fit into the box. http://explorelearning.com Our goal was to create a successful parabolic solar cooker out of simple materials such as cardboard and a reflective material.
How it Works The sunlight and heat is reflected off the Mylar, converging on the focus. The skewer is placed through the focus so most of the heat will be transferred to the food, thus allowing it to cook much more rapidly.
Equation/Method We used Method 2, which allowed us to use one of the two corner points of the box and the vertex, allowing us to not guess and check, but get it right the first time. The equation we used was derived from y= ¼ p (x-h)²+k. The formula to create our parabola was 23=¼ p (0- 22)²+1. The final equation of the line was y=0.05x²-2.00x+23.00.
Finding the Vertex and Focus We found the vertex by simply selecting where we wanted it to be located. We did not want it to be too high or too low, so we picked one towards the bottom but not all the way down.
Building the Box Dimensions: Length: 44 cm Width: 28.5 cm Height: 23 cm First, we had to graph the points of the parabola onto the box so we would be able to see where to put the skewers. We started with the two corner points, (0,23) and (44,23), as well as the vertex, (22, 3.5).
Building Cont. After we graphed the points on both sides of the box, we punctured holes with the compass and ran the skewers through both sides of the box. Then, we covered the poster board with Mylar and placed it onto the skewers, forming a parabola. Finally, we found the focus and placed a skewer through it, which is where the food would be cooking.
Angle of Elevation and the Sun We needed to figure out the elevation of the sun since we were only able to cook in the morning. We used the website http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunri se/azel.html to find the exact angle of elevation of the sun. http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunri se/azel.html http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunri se/azel.html We then angled the box using a protractor and had the most direct amount of sunlight entering the box and converging on the focus.
Ideal/Poor Conditions for Solar Cooking The most ideal place to use solar cookers is at the equator since most of the sun’s rays are hitting at that location. The least ideal place would be at the two poles since the least amount of sunlight is hitting there. Ideally, a day with no clouds would be the best, and the use of solar cookers is useless if it is cloudy and there is no sunlight.
Other Uses of Solar Paraboloids Satellite Dishes for TV/Internet/Radio/etc. Communications through space
Was it Successful? Our box that we built was successful because all of the sunlight converged on the focus where it was supposed to, working perfectly as planned.