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MCHE 101 class tests solar heaters

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Students in Dr. William Emblom's Mechanical Engineering 101 class completed their solar energy projects and tested them on campus this week.

With the project, the students were required to achieve two things: boil 8 ounces of water in 40 minutes and heat a steel plate to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest temperature a group achieved for the steel plate was 650 degrees Fahrenheit, but that was so hot that the wood behind the plate caught fire. The fastest for a group to get boiling water was about 15 minutes.

The systems the students built are practical for post-hurricane cooking and water sterilization, as well as for camp use. The systems could also be used in under-developed areas where there are limited resources — if someone can replace the steel plate with a sheet metal box, they could bake food.

Read more and see photos of the students' projects.

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