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Author Topic: Why didn't I do it?  (Read 1148 times)

Offline Jerrymac

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Why didn't I do it?
« on: June 20, 2008, 10:11:38 AM »
I swear I saw on TV once, many years ago, a huge satellite dish looking thing that had a polished surface and they reflected and concentrated enough sun light to burn through a huge steel "I" beam. I then thought about making one of them and using it to heat up things, you know, like a water heater. Or perhaps heat up a network of water in pipes and circulate it through the house to heat it, like a steam boiler/radiator system. I have even gone as far as imagining a really huge dish that concentrates a large amount of solar energy onto another lens or curved mirror to hold it in a tight beam and a directional mirror to make it possible to direct it in any direction you wanted it to go. This perhaps could be so hot it would melt right through the armor plating of tanks and other military vehicles. A weapon that could be used over and over and over. Keep down the military cost right?

But surely they have already thought about it and I guess it doesn't work. I guess it isn't such a great idea after all. But perhaps one day I will tinker with it. Perhaps burn ants....

And then I see this  :shock:  :?  :shock:  :?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080619/sc_livescience/inventorssolardishcouldrevolutionizeenergyproduction

 Inventors: Solar Dish Could Revolutionize Energy Production

LiveScience Staff

LiveScience.comThu Jun 19, 3:05 PM ET

A new type of solar energy collector concentrates the sun into a beam that could melt steel. Researchers say the device could revolutionize global energy production.

The prototype is a 12-foot-wide mirrored dish was made from a lightweight frame of thin, inexpensive aluminum tubing and strips of mirror. It concentrates sunlight by a factor of 1,000 to produce steam.

"This is actually the most efficient solar collector in existence," said Doug Wood, an inventor based in Washington state who patented key parts of the dish's design - the rights to which he has signed over to a team of students at MIT.

To test the prototype this week, MIT mechanical engineering Spencer Ahrens put a plank of wood in the beam an generated an almost instant puff of smoke.

The thing does more than burn wood, of course. At the end of a 12-foot aluminum tube rising from the center of the dish is a black-painted coil of tubing that has water running through it. When the dish is pointing directly at the sun, the water in the coil flashes immediately into steam.

Ahrens and his teammates have started a company, RawSolar, to hopefully mass produce the dishes. They could be set up in huge arrays to provide steam for industrial processing, or for heating or cooling buildings, as well as to hook up to steam turbines and generate electricity, according to an MIT statement. Once in mass production, such arrays should pay for themselves within two years or so with the energy they produce, the students figure.

Wood, the inventor, said the students built the dish and improved on his design.

"They really have simplified this and made it user-friendly, so anybody can build it," he said.

Wood said small dishes work best because it requires much less support structure and costs less for a given amount of collection area.

"I've looked for years at a variety of solar approaches, and this is the cheapest I've seen," said MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer David Pelly, in whose class the project first took shape last fall. "And the key thing in scaling it globally is that all of the materials are inexpensive and accessible anywhere in the world."
Video: The Solar Collector Explained More Solar: How Satellites Could Power the Future Top 10 Disruptive Technologies Original Story: Inventors: Solar Dish Could Revolutionize Energy Production

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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 10:25:39 AM »
OH!! I left out part of my weapons thoughts. This thing can be focused in seconds, so it could possibly zap incoming missiles also. 
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Offline Keith13

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 11:04:11 AM »
Did you see the thing mythbusters did on reflecting light to create a weapon, Archimedes Death Ray, to set fire to all approaching ships. well they tried it a number of different ways and were able to finally get it to work but it was not a great weapon by any means but it was cool to see. but most definitely could be used to heat H2O.

Keith

Offline Frantz

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 12:02:17 PM »
Jerrymac,
I know how you feel, I am the one who invented the orange juice jug that has a plunger at the top to mix the pulp up every morning. Then my wife brings one home from pampered chef.... I was heart broken....I think Nasa is spying on me too, stealing my ideas, but that is for later.... I think they are watching me now!!!!
Frantz
Don't be yourself, "Be the man you would want your daughters to marry!!"

Offline Scadsobees

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 12:11:27 PM »
I didn't bother thinking of anything solar related because I'm in Michigan. :roll:  We could only cut steel beams for only about 3 months of the year.  Not that I have any need to cut steel beams. :roll:

The Archimedes death ray sounds funny..."Ahoy approaching ship!  Please stay still for a while so we can light you on fire!".  Nothing like disabling the ants to keep them still so we could burn them....

Frantz, Nasa isn't spying on you, rather, it is the PCSN, Pampered Chef Spy Network.  If you see middle aged women around you with spatulas, they are trying to steal your ideas.  Watch out though, they are deadly with potato peelers!
Rick

Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 12:24:00 PM »
Saw that. They were trying to use flat surfaces and direct a whole mess of them onto one place. A concave surface is much more efficient at focusing the suns energy. It is like a magnifying  glass only it reflects it back at angles instead of bending it as it passes through. (Not real sure of the techbical terms) You can focus all the suns rays that strike in a 12 foot circle onto a small area, say one inch circle where as a 12 foot circled mirror will bounce the light back to another 12 circle.

If my math is correct that would be about 51164 square inches focused on one square inch. So you would need 51164 flat mirrors to focus the same amount of sun energy to 1 square inch. And get them all aimed precisely.  I don't think the Mythbusters did that.
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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Why didn't I do it?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 12:26:49 PM »
"Ahoy approaching ship!  Please stay still for a while so we can light you on fire!".  Nothing like disabling the ants to keep them still so we could burn them....

This is why there is an adjustable mirror. the ray is focused onto the mirror and the mirror is swiveled around to direct the energy at the target.
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