The Design and Performance of a Solar Hot-Box Oven

Publication Year



solar hot-box oven, design, performance, solar oven, heating food


Engineering | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Of the 3.2 x 1021 BTU of solar energy which falls on the earth's surface every year, very little is used to supply man's energy requirements. In the post World War II era, much research and development effort has been directed to devices which use the sun's rays as fuel.

The design, construction, and testing of one such device was the purpose of this project. The device was the solar oven, a wall insulated box with a double pane window on one side. Aluminum reflecting panels directed additional sunlight into the oven.

The oven was constructed at a material cost of $73.25. One half-day of work by a skilled sheet metal worker and approximately 10 hours of semi-skilled labor was necessary to build the oven. The oven weighed approximately ninety pounds.

Tests were conducted on the oven in Scottsdale, Arizona during the Easter, 1971 vacation. Weather conditions were perfect--sunny, clear and warm. The oven reached a maximum temperature of 360 degrees F, somewhat less than the predicted value of 415 degrees F. Two quarts of water were brought to a boil in 165 minutes. Two loaves of homemade white bread baked in two hours. This compares with a baking time of one hour in a conventional oven. Five pounds of beef were cooked to "well done" in three hours, fifteen minutes as compared to a roasting time of two and one-half hours in a conventional oven.

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