Portal:Projects/Selected page/21

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Building a very hot parabolic solar cooker using pedal power tools.
Notice how the focus is the same for the various parabolas.
Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker. The paraboloid is an interesting shape with some amazing qualities. It has the power to concentrate light, electronic waves, sound, etc. to its focus at the center. To find the focal point of a paraboloid, one must use the formula, y=p*x^2, where p is a constant. The variable y is the depth of the dish, and x measures the distance from the center axis to the maximum circumference of the dish. You have to pretend that there is an x axis going through the center of the base of the dish and a perpendicular y-axis passing from the center of the base of the dish to the focal point. The two numbers, x and y, represent a point on the paraboloid, and from that, you are able to determine where the focus is.

Parabolic cookers have been used for centuries now. The idea to concentrate light using curved mirrors was developed by the Greeks, Aztecs, Incas, Romans and Chinese. The Incas used bronze and gold for their mirrors and they built structures that were several stories high. This technology seems to have appeared around the same time for each of the civilizations. It is thought that Archimedes harnessed the technologyW to defend Syracuse from invading Roman fleets in 212 BC.