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Survival of the Physics!!! (Solar Cooker)

The following lab report is being dictated by Rebekah and Haley. Other members involved were Kevin, Jared, and Matt.

We’ve been stranded here for days. We’re just now coming to the end of supplies and our only bet is to find a means to boil water in order to sanitize it for drinking. With the sun beating down on our backs and only the hope of success to fuel our energy we set out to construct a solar cooker. The first designs were much disputed. We knew we had to harness the sunlight but how? We had cardboard, a cardboard box, tin foil, water, a shallow dish, a thermometer, some dark paper, and a graduated cylinder, and plastic wrap at our disposal. Our first instincts were to utilize the tin foil as a means to catch and reflect the sunlight. We placed the sheet of dark paper on the bottom of our cardboard box thinking it would be enough to hold the heat. But upon further experimentation, we found that covering the inner walls of the box with tin foil further focused the radiation to our subject, the shallow dish filled with 100 mL of water. With our remaining cardboard, we coated them in tin foil and placed them around the box in a half-dome shape to further direct the light onto the foil walls within the box, thus concentrating the light to the dish. Taking into consideration the plastic wrap among our materials, we wrapped the top of the open cardboard box in order to create a greenhouse effect. The light reflected down into the cavity would naturally reflect off the objects and tin foil inside, but the plastic wrap would act as an insulator for the heat. When first we filled the dish with water, we measured its temperature with the thermometer; the reading was 23.5 degrees Celsius. After 20 minutes, the temperature had risen to 39 degrees Celsius. Overjoyed by this result, the group decided to continue the experiment and check the water again after another 20 minutes. This time the temperature only raised to 40 degrees Celsius. It must be taken into consideration that at this point in the day, the sun had already begun to set, which greatly altered the amount of light caught by our aluminum panels. This very well could have been what halted the progress of our experiment. Regardless, we could take comfort in knowing that we were onto something.

     After removing the dish from the cardboard box, it was evident that we had lost 10 of our 100 mL of water. About 5 mL was spilled upon the dish’s removal, so then we can conclude that about 5 mL evaporated during the duration of our experiment. This may be important to keep in mind if we conduct a similar experiment; can we prevent the loss of water? Although we had positive results, they were not significant enough to boil the water as we had intended. Our only hope now is to get off the island…image



Know too much…

Yesterday I basically admitted to my best friend that I contemplate her relationships. I feel deeply about them as if they were my own. Realizing just how absurd and creepy that sounded, I apologized that she had to be my friend. She quickly interjected that from time to time she has been known to stalk me on the Facebook, just to see what’s new.

I don’t think we’ll ever not be friends, we have too much dirt on each other.

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