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How Solar Cookers Work
There are actually more than fifty different variations on the solar cooker theme. However, they typically fall into three basic designs or design principles. These include:
* Concentrating sunlight. In this type of device the sunlight is concentrated or focused by some type of reflective metal or a mirror. The heat and energy from the sun then becomes concentrated and much more intense.
* Converting light to heat. In this type of design the solar cooker makes use of heat-absorbing elements, like the color black, to amplify the cooking process. One example would be to coat the inside of the cooker with black paint or to use a black material to collect the sunlight and convert it into heat. If you've ever worn a black shirt on a sunny day, you know how effective this is.
* Finally, a third type of design traps heat by using a clear device, like a lid, to keep the heat inside and thus to use it to maximize cooking.
Of course, some designs take advantage more than one of these solar cooking elements to really maximize the sun's effects. A solar box cooker is one of the most basic types of solar cookers and can be made at home with few resources or technical skills.
Ingredients for a Solar Box Cooker
If you're going to make a solar box cooker at home (and why not!) then you'll need to collect a few things. They include:
* Two cardboard boxes. One box should be larger than the other and ideally the bigger the better because it's awfully difficult to make much in a children's shoe box. There should also be about ½ inch of space between the two boxes all the way around.
* One sheet of cardboard for the lid. You'll want it to be several inches larger than the top of your largest box. So for example if your box is 10X10 you'd want your cardboard to be around 13x13.
* A roll of aluminum foil.
* Flat-black, non-toxic, spray paint or tempera paint.
* White glue, non-toxic.
* A Reynolds oven cooking bag or a sheet of glass. The oven bags are ideal because they're inexpensive, durable, and easy to find. They're also designed to withstand 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's it; that's your supply list. Solar box cooking can be a fun way for your children to learn the amazing powers of the sun and to learn a bit about solar energy. You can also take advantage of this wonderful device and cook outdoors when the weather permits. You'll save energy and have fun in the process.
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