Best material for a solar cooker reflector?


Old 08-05-14, 04:56 PM
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Question Best material for a solar cooker reflector?

I'm constructing a parabolic solar cooker for a science project, where I need the temperature to reach about the 400-500F range. I'm constructing my own parabolic reflector for the cooker out of a used satellite dish that we have that's roughly about 30" in diameter. I tried a test run in which I covered it in aluminum foil, though some areas wrinkled a bit and I had to put duct tape over some places, which further hindered the reflectivity. However, the test run only reached temperatures of at most 120 F, far below the range I wanted it to be. My question was if the material that I put on the surface of the satellite dish is not the best for this purpose, or if the dish was not angled properly (I tried placing the dish on the ground and angled up against a chair in afternoon sunlight). I've seen others do such a project flawlessly, so it is most likely the material on the dish? (Should I consider using other, more reflective material such as mylar, chrome tape (which type of tape, duct, vinyl, etc.) or chrome (spray) paint?)
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Old 08-05-14, 05:53 PM
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Aluminized mylar would probably be a better reflector but I don't think that is your problem. Possibly your target is not at the focal point or you are not aligned with the sun. A 30" reflector can very easily make 120f. Even if you cover your dish with a perfect reflective material it still will not work if it's not aimed properly.
Old 08-05-14, 06:32 PM
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Old 08-05-14, 07:23 PM
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chrome tape
Look for aluminum tape that HVAC guys use for sealing ducts. "Duct tape" is no longer used for sealing ducts. You should find it with the duct work at the big box store.

Another option is to paint it with chrome paint.

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