Redesign of a solar furnace

This was one of my high school projects. Solar furnaces individually move thousands of mirrors to focus on a central focus point. Our assertion was that it’s more expensive to build and maintain such furnaces because of all the moving parts. This was an exploration of a different design where we made the mirrors fixed and instead moved just the focus point.The printouts on the wall show a computer simulation of the sun’s rays focusing off the mirrors at different times of the day for this specific configuration so we could decide the optimal path that the focus point needs to move along for maximum efficiency. This was just a simulation, not an actual working furnace, but the mirrors were all aligned using laser pointers and the focal point moved as the overhead lamp was moved to simulate the sun. We found that this design was 30% less efficient than a solar furnace of the same size and we didn’t have enough data to know if the tradeoffs were worth it.