One of the really cool hands-on projects that allows students to explore, test their design skills, and challenge their understanding of materials science is a solar hotbox project. I have blogged on these before, but the project is so cool I am doing it again with Alexandra Rempel’s latest group of designers. This project out of the Environmental Studies Program is part of a Passive Heating class. It can also be done on a shoe-string budget. The folks above are all smiling and doing their best to put up with the sunlight shining right into their eyes for the picture, but then, that’s why the hotboxes are all there. The goal is collect and store as much heat as possible during a 48 hour period. The boxes, based on some specific design requirements/limitations, absorb heat in the sun during the day and hopefully retain as much heat as possible during the night. Temperature data loggers are used in each box to track the temperature changes over the time period. These data are shown at the bottom of this page.
Here’s the data from project: