Solar Oven

How does a solar oven work?

Solar energy is when radiation from the sun, otherwise known as sunlight, is converted into heat or thermal energy.

A solar oven directs the radiation (sunlight), using tin foil, into a box that has a black bottom that absorbs the heat. The box is insulated with saran wrap to trap the heat.

Experiment *Best done on a warm, sunny day

Questions:

Will the solar oven get warm enough to melt food?

Will the inside of the solar oven get warmer that the outside air surrounding the solar oven? How much warmer?

Hypothesis or Guess:

What do you think will happen? Answer the questions above before you do the experiment.

Materials:

  • Pizza box or shoe box
  • Saran Wrap
  • Tin Foil
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Black paper
  • A chop stick or stir stick or skewer
  • An oven thermometer, if you have one
  • Food to cook, for example, cheese on crackers, chocolate on a cookie or a glass of cold water

Procedure:

  • Cover the lid with tin foil, with the shiniest side facing out
  • Cover the bottom and the sides with a black or dark coloured paper or material
  • Prepare the food that you wish to cook and put in the box
  • If you have an oven thermometer, measure the temperature outside the box before you start. You might have to leave the thermometer for 5 minutes to get a good reading, then record the temperature
  • If you have an oven thermometer put it inside the solar oven and leave it there
  • Cover the top of the box with saran wrap and tape up any holes
  • Put the box in the direct sunlight
  • Use a stick to prop the lid open at an angle that allows the sun to be reflected directly into the bottom of the box
  • Keep an eye on the oven to make sure crows don’t eat your food but leave it for about 30 – 60 minutes

Conclusion:

  • What happened to the food inside your solar oven?
  • Did the food melt?
  • Did the water get warm?
  • If you had a thermometer what was the temperature inside the box at the end of the experiment?
  • How many degrees warmer was the inside of the box than the outside?

Science Curriculum