How To Build A Solar Oven?

How To Build A Solar Oven
What you’ll need to make a solar oven: –

Two large, shallow cardboard boxes. The larger (outer) box should be slightly taller than the inner box. The inner box should fit inside the outer box with a 1″ or 2″ space between the two when they’re nested. Make sure the inner box is taller than the dish you use for cooking. A loose piece of cardboard for constructing the lid. It should be six inches wider and longer than the outer box. Saran wrap (or Plexiglas) the width and length of your outer box Roll of aluminum foil Black paper (cut to the size of the inner box) Glue Duct tape Sharpie Newspaper sheets, crumpled up Scissors or a box cutter Wire hanger or stick

Step 1: Create an insulation chamber, so that your inner box can nest inside the outer box. Turn your outer box upside down (with the flaps down), and center set the inner box on top. Trace around the shape of the inner box. Cut along those lines to make a window opening,

  1. You should now have a frame of 1-2″ on all four sides.
  2. Step 2: Construct a lid (with a flap) to fit over the top of the bigger box.
  3. This flap will open, and that’s where you’ll set your plate of food to cook.
  4. Center your outer box on top of the loose cardboard piece and trace around all four sides of the big box.

Now center the inner box inside of the lines you just drew, and trace around the inner box. Fashion your flap in the lid by cutting along only three sides (two short and one long) of the innermost lines. Now go back to the outer box that you just traced.

  • Extend the lines from each corner of your larger traced box, drawing to each corner of the cardboard piece.
  • Cut along these lines, fold them down (creating a 3D lid), and tape up around the box.
  • Step 3: Line the box with foil to reflect sunlight into your box, and insulate with newspaper in order to trap heat.

Glue aluminum foil, shiny side out, to line all five sides of the inside of the outer box, as well as the inside and outside of the inner box. Finally, cover the underside of the flap with foil, too. Fill the gap between the outer box and inner box with rolled-up newspaper sheets on all four sides, to the top.

Duct tape a double layer of Saran Wrap (or Plexiglas) to the underside of the window. Secure black construction paper, which will absorb heat, to the bottom of the inside box. Step 4: Set up your oven. Make sure the foil-lined flap is reflecting light into the window, and reposition as necessary. Set your plate in the box, and prop the lid open with a stick or the wire hanger.

If you’re heating liquids, stir often as with a regular stove. Step 5: Enjoy your scrumptious solar feast!

Can I make my own solar oven?

How to Build a Solar Oven Ever heard that old phrase “It’s hot enough to cook an egg on a sidewalk”? It seems like hyperbole (and even a little gross), but the sun really is powerful enough to cook a variety of foods—provided you can trap, reflect, or otherwise concentrate its energetic rays into a small space.

  • With a few inexpensive household materials, you can build a safe and effective oven that can utilize the sun’s power to generate interior temperatures in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • That’s hot enough to cook sausages, bacon, hash browns, or tater tots.
  • Of course, conditions have to be just right to heat up an oven that much: a hot day with the sun in an optimal position, and its rays shining on an oven constructed with strict attention to detail.

However, even if you throw everything together just well enough to do the trick, your solar oven can still reach temperatures of about 160 degrees. That’s hot enough to hold an impromptu wiener roast in the backyard, or to make gooey and melty chocolate s’mores on your next camping trip where campfires are verboten.

  • With the summer in full swing and the kids idling away their afternoons, it’s the perfect time for one of our favorite family-friendly projects.
  • Building a solar oven teaches some basic lessons about physics, solar energy, and food preparation.
  • Plus, it’s fun because everyone gets to eat the results.
  • All you need is 20 minutes and a few bucks’ worth of supplies.

Gather Your Materials

Cardboard box with a volume between 1 and 2 cubic feetAluminum foil. Heavy duty foil is easiest to handle, but any foil will doBlack skillet or pan for your cooking surfaceInsulating material like polystyrene, packing foam, newspaper, or fiberglass insulationClear plastic food wrap, like Saran wrap or similarCloth tape, like duct tape or gaffer tapeKitchen thermometer

Step 1: Think Inside the Box Pick a good cardboard box. Aim for a box that’s between 1 and 2 cubic feet in volume, or about the size of a typical beer cooler. We used a 10 x 10 x 14-inch shipping box from Amazon with great results. Cut up enough of your insulating material to line the whole interior of the box.

  • Cover the bottom and sides, but not the flaps.
  • You want the air inside the box to get as hot as possible, and this layer will insulate the oven so that heat won’t be lost too quickly through the sides of the box.
  • Your kitchen oven works similarly by using insulation to trap heat inside.
  • For extra credit, check out that tests the efficiency of different types of oven insulation materials.

Step 2: Get Reflective Cover the foam with aluminum foil, and tape it in place. The shiny, reflective metal keeps the sun’s heating rays bouncing around inside the box, which heats up the interior more efficiently. Next, cut four pieces of aluminum foil that are each slightly larger than the four flaps of the box.

  • Wrap these pieces of foil over the inner-facing sides of each flap.
  • Tape down the corners so the foil stays flat.
  • You’ll position these light-reflecting flaps to direct rays of sunlight into the box, which helps raise the interior temperature of the oven.
  • Step 3: Set the Stage Photograph: WIRED Staff Place a cooking surface inside the box.

This is where you’ll put the food you want to heat up. Use a cast-iron skillet, small sheet pan, or metal plate. Use something black that retains heat, since dark cooking surfaces capture more heat than silver or white ones. : How to Build a Solar Oven

What is the best material to make a solar oven?

Corrugated cardboard. Aluminum foil or reflective material. Glass, Plexiglas, or clear plastic wrap.

How hot can a homemade solar oven get?

Solar energy is light and heat that is emitted from the sun. It can be used to pasteurize water or sterilize items. And we can use solar energy to cook food in a DIY solar oven. A solar oven catches sunlight by using a reflector and reflecting the light onto a black surface.

  1. The black surface transforms the light into heat which is then trapped in the upside-down glass bowl.
  2. Ind of like heat getting trapped in a car on a hot day.
  3. The solar oven cooks food slowly on a low heat over a long period of time.
  4. A solar oven can reach about 200°F on a sunny day.
  5. While this cooking method takes longer than a normal oven, it is functional, easy to use and safe to leave alone while energy from the sun cooks your food! Plus, it’s using science and how great is that? While using your solar oven think about how the weather outside effects your ovens performance.

How well does it perform on a warm day versus a hot day? How does your solar oven compare to a real oven? What variables can you tweak to make your solar oven perform better? Precaution: This is an experimental activity; solar cooked food should be eaten with care.

How does a homemade solar oven work?

Panel Cookers – Panel cookers can cook the same foods that you would cook in a covered pot on top of the stove. They use reflectors to “gather” a larger area of sunlight and direct it towards a black cooking pot that is placed in a high temperature oven bag.

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Does the size of a solar oven matter?

Talking about Solar Cooker Temperature

by Jim La Joie (Bonsall, CA) Thoughts on Solar Cooker Temperature.The most frequently asked question at any solar cooking show is “How hot does it get?”This simple question is a little misleading because the value of temperature alone will not reveal the cooking ability of a solar cooking device.Temperature achieved must be “weighted” by the size of the cooker.

A small magnifying glass can achieve very high temperature, but is of little use for cooking. A small parabolic can achieve a very high temperature but, again, it is of little use for cooking.A more accurate method of stating a solar cooker’s capacity would be to use the same calculation as is used for electrical power.

Volts x Amps = Watts (power)For solar cookers Volts= Temperature, Amps= insolated area. (Definition of Insolation:1. exposure to sunlight: exposure of something to sunlight2. rate of solar radiation: the rate of solar radiation received per unit area)So a one thousand square inch cooker produces 2 times the power of a 500 square inch cooker if both achieve the same temperature.Here in California there is a very large trailer mounted solar oven.

  • It cooks a lot of bread at one time – but it does not cook any faster than a smaller oven cooking a single loaf.
  • The large oven and the small oven both achieve the same temperature, but the large oven has greater power because of its greater insolated area.The relationship of size to cooking power (not just temperature) is very clear.

For any given design, the larger the insolated area, the greater the power.Bottom line is this: A small cooker only collects a small amount of sunlight. No matter how good the design, no matter how great the maximum achieved temperature, the small cooker is appropriate for small quantities only.

If you need to cook a lot of food, use more than one cooker or use a cooker that collects more sunlight._Hi Jim,Great definition and explanation!This will definitely be very helpful to our site visitors. I too get the same “how hot” question all the time.Thank you very much.P.S. I took the liberty of adding the definition of insolation so that people would know what it meant, and a photo of the big Villager oven.Nathan Admin Enjoy this page? Please share it with others.

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: Talking about Solar Cooker Temperature

Can plexiglass be used in a solar oven?

What is best to use for the transparent cover, or lid of a solar box cooker? – As was mentioned earlier, glass can be used, but as noted, it is heavier and more fragile which will make it more difficult to conform (shape) to the size of your solar box cooker unless you choose to have it professionally cut to size. You could though, construct the box cooker to conform to the size of the glass that you may already have.

  1. If you do use glass you may want to use tempered glass, since it is more durable and heat resistant and will not break as easily.
  2. This glass is used in making oven doors and coffee pots etc.) Tempered glass though, is more expensive than your regular window pane glass.
  3. You can try finding this glass, and others, at your local glass shop or search this site for more information on locations, ordering and purchasing. For non glass coverings or lids you can use everything from clear (transparent) Mylar, acetate film, Plexiglas, and many others that can be found locally or on the internet. Taking into account all of these options, you will have to decide how much you want to invest into your homemade solar oven.

  1. You may want to build your solar cooker to last for years by using the best quality materials, or you may just build something simple and inexpensive that you will use for quick demonstration purposes only.
  2. Here is a listing of a few of the many available sources of non-glass transparent material. And.

Clear Plexiglas sheet at Clear film in acetate or clear Mylar also works well, or better yet, Lexan. And most economic of all, is to use something such as plastic wrap, or shrink wrap to create a sealed, transparent lid or cover for your cooker.

This would work much the same way that an oven (turkey roast) bag functions while being used in a solar panel cooker. Note: Plastic Wraps will not sustain very high heat, it can be used for a simple low temp. demo cooker though. And most economic of all, is to use something such as plastic wrap, or shrink wrap to create a sealed, transparent lid or cover for your cooker.

This would work much the same way that an oven (turkey roast) bag functions while being used in a solar panel cooker. Note: Plastic Wraps will not sustain very high heat, it can be used for a simple low temp. demo cooker though.

What is the best insulator for a solar oven?

Solar Cooker Design and Construction Guide EL PASO SOLAR ENERGY ASSOCIATION AND MARK AALFS, SOLAR COOKERS INTERNATIONAL Why Solar Cooking? Solar cooking is used widely in developing countries as an alternative to wood, charcoal, coal, and dung fires, all of which create environmental problems for the country, and health problems for the cook, and they are expensive.

Solar cookers are also “environmentally-friendly” and non-polluting; food will not burn; fewer problems with boil-over; keeps house cooler and reduces summer cooling costs; economical — cookers can be made from recycled material and cost nothing to operate; safe — no risk of fire Solar cookers are easy to make and even easier to use.

The simplest design can be made in less than 1/2 hour and will cook a hot-dog or tray of cookies in under an hour! A larger panel cooker or a box cooker will cook a pot of dried beans in less than a day, and there is no need to “watch the pot” — just place it in the cooker in the morning and return in the evening.

With an understanding of basic principles of solar energy and access to simple materials such as cardboard, aluminum foil, and glass, one can build an effective solar cooking device. Whether the need is to cook food, pasteurize water, or dry fish or grain, the basic principles of solar, heat transfer, and materials apply.

We look forward to the application of a wide variety of materials and techniques as people make direct use of the sun’s energy. Heat Principles A solar box cooks because the interior of the box is heated by the energy of the sun. Sunlight, both direct and reflected, enters the solar box through the glass or plastic top.

  • It turns to heat energy when it is absorbed by the dark absorber plate and cooking pots.
  • This heat input causes the temperature inside of the solar box cooker to rise until the heat loss of the cooker is equal to the solar heat gain.
  • Temperatures sufficient for cooking food and pasteurizing water are easily achieved.

Given two boxes that have the same heat retention capabilities, the one that has more gain, from stronger sunlight or additional sunlight via a reflector, will be hotter inside. Given two boxes that have equal heat gain, the one that has more heat retention capabilities — better insulated walls, bottom, and top — will reach a higher interior temperature.

Materials Requirements Structural material. Structural materials are necessary so that the box will have and retain a given shape and form, and be durable over time. Structural materials include cardboard, wood, plywood, masonite, bamboo, metal, cement, bricks, stone, glass, fiberglass, woven reeds, rattan, plastic, papier mache, clay, rammed earth, metals, tree bark, and cloth stiffened with glue or other material.

Many materials that perform well structurally are too dense to be good insulators. To provide both structural integrity and good insulation qualities, it is usually necessary to use separate structural and insulating materials. Insulation. In order for the box to reach interior temperatures high enough for cooking, the walls and the bottom of the box must have good insulation (heat retention) value.

  1. Good insulating materials include: aluminum foil (radiant reflector), feathers (down feathers are best), spun fiberglass, rockwool, cellulose, rice hulls, wool, straw, and crumpled newspaper.
  2. When building a solar cooker, it is important that the insulation materials surround the interior cooking cavity of the solar box on all sides except for the glazed side — usually the top.
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Insulating materials should be installed so that they allow minimal conduction of heat from the inner box structural materials to the outer box structural materials. The lower the box heat loss, the higher the cooking temperatures. Transparent material.

  1. At least one surface of the box must be transparent and face the sun to provide for heating via the “greenhouse effect.” The most common glazing materials are glass and high temperature plastics such as oven roasting bags.
  2. Double glazing, using either glass or plastic, affects both the heat gain and the heat loss.

Depending on the material used, the solar transmittance — heat gain — may be reduced by 5-15%. However, because the heat loss through the glass or plastic is cut in half, the overall solar box performance is increased. Moisture resistance. Most foods that are cooked in a solar box cooker contain moisture.

When water or food is heated in the solar box, a vapor pressure is created, driving the moisture from the inside to the outside of the box. There are several ways that this moisture can travel. It can escape directly through box gaps and cracks or be forced into the box walls and bottom if there is no moisture barrier.

If a box is designed with high quality seals and moisture barriers, the water vapor may be retained inside the cooking chamber. In the design of most solar box cookers, it is important that the inner-most surface of the cooker be a good vapor barrier.

This barrier will prevent water damage to the insulation and structural materials of the cooker by slowing the migration of water vapor into the walls and bottom of the cooker. Design and Proportion Box Size of a Solar Box Cooker. The size should allow for the largest amount of food commonly cooked. If the box needs to be moved often, it should not be so large that this task is difficult.

The box design must accommodate the cookware that is available or commonly used. Solar Collection Area to Box Volume Ratio. Everything else being equal, the greater the solar collection area of the box relative to the heat loss area of the box, the higher the cooking temperatures will be.

  • Given two boxes that have solar collection areas of equal size and proportion, the one that is of less depth will be hotter because it has less heat loss area.
  • Solar Box Cooker Proportion.
  • A solar box cooker facing the noon sun should be longer in the east/west dimension to make better use of the reflector over a cooking period of several hours.

As the sun travels across the sky, this configuration results in a more consistent cooking temperature. With square cookers or ones having the longest dimension north/south, a greater percentage of the early morning and late afternoon sunlight is reflected from the reflector to the ground, missing the box collection area.

Reflector. One or more reflectors are employed to bounce additional light into the solar box in order to increase cooking temperatures. This component is optional in equatorial climates but increases cooking performance in temperate regions of the world. Solar Box Cooker Operation One of the beauties of solar box cookers is their ease of operation.

For midday cooking at 20 N – 20 S latitude, solar box cookers with no reflector need little repositioning to face the sun as it moves across the midday sky. The box faces up and the sun is high in the sky for a good part of the day. Boxes with reflectors can be positioned toward the morning or afternoon sun to do the cooking at those times of day.

Solar box cookers used with reflectors in the temperate zones do operate at higher temperatures if the box is repositioned to face the sun every hour or two. This adjustment of position becomes less necessary as the east/west dimension of the box increases relative to the north/south dimension. Cooking Tips Most foods can be cooked in a solar cooker.

They will cook more slowly (similar to a crock pot), but will cook just as well. Deep-frying does not work well (the oil does not reach a critical temperature). As with any stove or oven, you should be sure that the food is cooked through before eating.

  1. This is especially true for meats and eggs.
  2. Hints on Specific Foods: · Dry cereals, grains — barley, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat: Start with usual amount of water.
  3. Next time adjust to your taste.
  4. Some people heat water and dry cereal/grain in separate pots before putting together to get the preferred texture.

· Fresh vegetables — add no water. Most green and yellow vegetables — 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If cooked longer they lose their nice green color. Try cooking corn on the cob with husks in a clean black sock. Beans (dried) — 3 to 5 hours. Add usual amount of water.

  1. Presoaking shortens cooking time.
  2. Some types of beans, especially in large quantity, may take two days.
  3. Most root vegetables — 3 hours.
  4. · Eggs: Cook in shells without water 1-2 hours.
  5. With longer cooking whites may turn brownish, but flavor is fine.
  6. · Meats: Add no water.
  7. The longer they cook, the more tender they become.

· Pastas: Heat water in one pot and dry pasta with a bit of cooking oil in another pot. Heat both until water is near boiling. Add hot pasta to hot water, stir, and cook about 10 minutes more. · Baking: is best done in the middle of the day (between 10 am and 2 pm).

Cookies don’t need a cover. Bake bottom crusts (pies, pizzas) alone and heat fillings separately, adding just before eating. · Water, milk — pasteurization: 1 liter takes about 1 hour (4 liters/1 gallon about 4 hours). With a WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) there’s no guesswork. · Sauces/gravies (made with flour or starch): Heat juices and flour separately, with or without a bit of cooking oil in the flour.

Then combine and stir. It will be ready quickly. · Roasting nuts: Bake uncovered. Almonds — 1 hour, peanuts (groundnuts) — 2 hours. Suggestions for Making your Design Hotter To make your cooker hotter you can (1) increase the amount of energy reaching the food, and (2) reduce the amount of heat energy lost.

  • Add reflectors.
  • Additional reflective surfaces around the cooker can increase the amount of solar energy reaching the food.
  • Adjust orientation.
  • Eep the cooker oriented toward the sun.
  • Rotating most cookers every two hours is good enough for normal cooking.
  • An orientation guide can help (such as the shadow produced by a nail placed at the front of the cooker).

Insulate. Insulation helps reduce heat loss. This is most important for partly-cloudy days when the food will continue to cook without sun if the cooker is well-insulated. Well-insulated box cookers can even continue cooking at night: simply place a pillow on top of the window.

  1. In the panel cooker design, the insulation is the layer of air between the plastic bag and the pot or jar.
  2. Suggestions for Making your Design Cheaper To make your cooker more cheaply, you can (1) use recycled materials, (2) use cheaper materials, and (3) keep it simple.
  3. Many designs can be made completely from recycled materials.

Panels and walls: cardboard boxes, wood scraps from construction sites, discarded containers (5 to 50 gallon drums). Windows: glass and oven bags are best; clear plastic bags, food wraps (Saran) and soda bottles can also be used if the plastic will not come into contact with the pot or jar.

Reflectors: foil liners from some cracker, cookie and breakfast cereal boxes, interior of Pringles cans and juice boxes. Insulation: crumpled newspaper or scrap paper, dry leaves, air space between window and food. Glue: white (school or carpenters) glue or flour paste (mix 1/4 cup white flour with 1/2 cup cool water; pour into 1 cup boiling water and stir until thick).

Mark Aalff, Solar Box Cookers Northwest 523 18th Avenue East, Seattle WA 98112 ph 206-328-0832 Solar Cookers on the World Wide Web: Solar Cooking Archive — Most of the information presented here was provided by Solar Cookers International (SCI), “a nonprofit organization spreading solar cooking to benefit people and environments worldwide.” SCI has a wide variety of educational materials (including teachers’ guides, cookbooks and cooker plans and kits) available in English, Spanish and French. 100% of the proceeds from NetWorks projects goes into the realization of our projects. For this reason we request that our copyrights be faithfully observed. email us

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What does plastic wrap do in a solar oven?

The transparent plastic allows the sunlight to pass through into the box where heat is absorbed. If your plastic wrap is sealed tightly, the heat that builds up inside of the box will not be able to escape.

How much does a solar oven cost?

Solar Oven Specs

Brand Price Capacity
All-American Sun Oven $349-$399 Large
GoSun $249 – $359 Small
Sunflair $89-$165 Medium
Solavore $199-$287 Large

Can a solar oven work on a cloudy day?

What Every Penny-Pincher Ought to Know About Solar Ovens The internet is chock-full of plans and videos on how to make a cheap solar cooker, and there are cheaper knockoffs available. This prompts people to ask, “Why would anyone spend their hard-earned money for a SUN OVEN ® ?” The simple answer is: A SUN OVEN ® is easier to use, will cook quicker, last longer and cost less per meal than any other type of solar cooking device.

  1. When placed side by side with most homemade cookers and knockoffs a SUN OVEN ® will reach temperatures which are 75 to 100 degrees hotter. ( Consistently reaches temperatures of 360 to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit )
  2. On a partly cloudy day the SUN OVEN ® can cook when the majority of solar cookers cannot. ( There only needs to be enough sun to cast a shadow to use a SUN OVEN ® while full sunlight is required for the others,)
  3. You can use a wide variety of pots and pans you already own in the SUN OVEN ® ( including cast iron Dutch Ovens and stoneware ). In other solar cookers you can only use the dark enamel pots.
  4. SUN OVENS ® have been on the market since 1986 and are designed to last for 15 years of daily use in developing countries and 20+ years in the US. ( Over the past 28 years they have been put to long term tests with daily use in rough environments in more than 130 countries around the world.)
  5. Due to its long life and ability to cook on partly cloudy days, a SUN OVEN ® costs less per meal than any other type of solar cooker.
  6. Bread can be baked in a SUN OVEN ® on a partly cloudy day. Most solar cookers do not get hot enough to bake bread, but if they can, full sun is required.
  7. The SUN OVEN ® is the only solar cooking device that allows you to cook quickly or slowly. Other Solar cookers can only cook slowly. ( There are two ways to cook in a SUN OVEN ®. If it is refocused every 25 to 30 minutes, the temperature will remain higher and the cooking time will be less. The other alternative is to use the SUN OVEN ® as a slow cooker. A meal can be put in the oven in the morning and the oven can be placed where the sun will be at mid-day and the meal will slow cook throughout the day and be ready whenever you want to have dinner,)
  8. For the past 28 years, SUN OVENS ® have been proudly made in the United States. ( With the exception of the thermometer, all of the component parts used in the SUN OVENS ® are made in the USA,)
  9. A portion of the proceeds from every SUN OVEN ® purchased in the U.S. goes to help with our work in third world countries around the world.
  10. In addition to cooking, a SUN OVEN ® can also be used as a solar dryer or dehydrator.
  11. Satisfaction guaranteed! If you are not completely satisfied with your SUN OVEN ®, you may return it anytime within the first 30 days and receive a full refund.
  12. The SUN OVEN ® is very user friendly:

The oven folds up and carries like a suitcase, weighs 23 pounds and sets up in a matter of seconds. The dual purpose leveling rack keeps food from spilling while the oven is being adjusted. The E-Z Sun Track Indicators take the guess work out of aligning the oven with the sun.

Can you boil water in a solar oven?

You can’t broil in a solar oven, but you can bake, boil and roast. You can even pasteurize water- simple solar ovens made of cardboard boxes can reach 3250 F.

How long does it take to boil water in a solar oven?

On very sunny days, you can boil water in a solar oven in 30 minutes. It might take twice as long on a partially cloudy day, but it will still boil water. Solar ovens usually get up to 300°F (149°C) on sunny days, which allows you to boil water and cook most foods.

How do you make a solar oven without a pizza box?

HOW TO MAKE A SOLAR OVEN – To make a solar oven, three things are needed: First, you need a heat-safe pot or container to hold the food. A dark colored metal or glass container works best and a handle makes it easy to hold and use. Metal mugs are sold at camping stores and Wal-mart.

  1. Be aware that this container will get very very hot.
  2. You will need a potholder.
  3. Second, you must have a heat trap, something that can trap and hold the heat.
  4. This can be a tinfoil lined box with a glass cover, an upside down glass bowl, or a clear cooking bag.
  5. The heat trap will need to be closed tightly to keep the heat from escaping.

Third, you must have a reflector. Reflectors direct the sun rays into the heat trap so that the box will heat quicker.

How do you make a solar oven out of a shoe box?

Use solar energy to reduce energy bills and for convenience. A solar cooker is handy on camping trips and RV or boat excursions, because it provides a passive option to prepare food using sunlight. A shoebox solar oven or cooker is easy to build using common household materials. The sun’s rays are captured in the cooker, resulting in a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

    ••• Alexandra Barry/Demand Media Measure a rectangle 1 inch from the edges of the outside of your shoebox lid. Cut three sides of the rectangle, leaving one longer side uncut. If desired, score the fourth side of the rectangle on the inside of the lid, to make lifting and propping up the rectangle easy. The lid can later be positioned to best capture the sun’s rays. ••• Alexandra Barry/Demand Media Line and glue aluminum foil to the inside of your shoe box, shiny side out, making sure no cardboard is exposed. If desired, add a second layer of foil. Line the inside of the lid and the flap with foil similarly (make sure the flap is lined separately and can be lifted up). The foil will reflect the sunlight and direct it to the cooking area,. ••• Alexandra Barry/Demand Media Measure and cut pieces of black construction paper to fit the inside walls and bottom of the shoebox. Glue these pieces to the aluminum foil lining. The dark color will absorb the sun’s rays, increasing the interior temperature. ••• Alexandra Barry/Demand Media Measure and cut the transparent plastic to be slightly larger than the rectangle previously cut out of the lid. Tape the plastic to the inside of the lid to cover the rectangular cutout. The plastic will trap the heat inside the box.

    • Shoe box with lid
    • Scissors
    • Roll of aluminum foil
    • Glue
    • Black construction paper
    • Thick clear plastic sheet
    • Clear packing tape
    • Thin wire or bamboo sticks
    • Optional: craft knife
    • Consider using a larger box that will accommodate a small pot or tray.
    • Contents of the solar cooker will be hot, so use protective mitts when removing cookware.

How do you make a solar oven science project?

Digging Deeper – Solar ovens use solar energy — light and heat emitted from the sun — to cook food, pasteurize water, or even sterilize instruments. How does a solar oven work? The simple answer is that it is designed to absorb more heat than it releases.

The solar oven you build in this activity is a relatively simple one made out of a pizza box, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and a sheet of black paper. You cut a flap out of the pizza box’s lid and line this flap with aluminum foil so that sunlight can be reflected off of the foil and into the box. You also seal the opening with plastic wrap to create a plastic “window” that works like a greenhouse roof, allowing (direct and reflected) sunlight to pass into the box, while also retaining heat.

At the bottom of the box, you placed black paper to create a “heat sink.” This heat sink works by absorbing direct and reflected sunlight to become warm so that it can then heat up food placed on top of it.