Creative Thinking Part Two Addendum

Scaled Down for Financial and Physical Reasons

        I have included some screen shots down below here of a whole new configuration.  The mirrors and adjusting points are the same but I have made a frame that can hold 36 mirrors instead of 30 mirrored array I had before

This is the old configuration.

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Here is my newer configuration with just one half of the full array shown.

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The full array will be these two halves placed together with an angle that will still need to be determined.  However, I believe it will look something like this down below.  It will be either an acute angle or an obtuse angled shape.  I’m just not sure at this point.  Perhaps either one will work but I just need to get to this point in order to decide about the rest of this assembly that still must be designed yet.

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The focal part of all these mirrors will be at a fixed location directly in front of the mirrors and that will determine the appropriate angles that I must tilt or adjust the mirrors in order to get all the reflected sunlight onto the one target.  There are other things I can do to even increase the focal point for an even more concentrated ray.  Using a flat Fresnel lens in line between the target and the mirrored reflections could produce a spot so hot that steel could be vaporized or melted very quickly.  I’ve seen this on a professionally built solar concentrator.  The one really nice thing about these solar arrays for thermal heating is that whatever you are purposely melting or heating gets no carbon contaminations.  So I do like this configuration better than my first one and since I will be able to do a scaled down version of what I will build someday, it makes more sense to me.  What do you think?

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The scale model I will first build will be one forth the actual size.  The biggest reason why I have chosen that particular scale is because I found mirror pieces made in 3 inch squares from a local arts and crafts store called Michaels.  So I chose the quarter scale.  The full sized mirrors will be the 12 inch square mirrored tiles you can buy in most building supply stores like my favorite ones Home Deposit and Loews, take my money stores.  They both have nice assortments of things for the experimenter like myself. 

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I think it is a lot of fun doing these experiments.  One of our fellow members wants me to try building one of his solar concentrators.  I agreed to try it but I will first have to design it in the SolidWorks MCAD program to get the proper sizes and assembly components right, before actually trying to build his design.  I have already thought about the storage of the thermal energy that this thing will produce.  The cheapest and most functional thing to do is a below the ground high “R” value storage containment system composed of a trench and insulating materials.  The trench size is still to be determined but I planned to use small rocks that can hold large amounts of BTU’s.  A closed copper looped system will conduct the heat underground and I will use Styrofoam insulation to surround the boxed in enclosure with a plastic liner.  Salts are a superior storage medium but they have a corrosive factor that is not dealt with easily or inexpensively.  I would love to have used it but operating on my budget without the Feds behind me is a distinct disadvantage.  J  I might be able to overcome that use of the salts by using a larger trench size.  As cheap as my budget is I will definitely buy and install a relief valve on this pressurized system.  The last time I did a project like this I was unemployed and did not spend the money on this safety device.  That is a mistake that I will not repeat this time around.  So that is where I am so far.  If you have any ideas, I am all ears.  I have also been toying with another idea on how to keep this automatically orientated to a perpendicular angle to the sun.   I was thinking about using a Pendulum clock movement that is big enough to operate a small gear section that will allow the whole project to creep along with the sun’s path across the sky.  HHhhhmmm!  J

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Well folks, that is it for now.  I hope somehow I have amused or inspired some of you out there to take this idea or a similar one and run with it.  It keeps the creative juices flowing when you have a mystery and interest to satisfy.  Take care.