First day of classs
The first day of lab we began our project by picking out a cooker and making our first diode chain. This diode chain consisted of 21 diodes all correctly facing the same way.
After making the first diode chain in class we proceeded to tape it across the bottom of our pot, applied JB weld across it, and let it dry for a week. At the same time we stripped wires and JB welded them to each side of the diode chain which will later be connected to our solar panel.
The insulated solar cooking in Ghana team purchased our solar panel and attached it to our solar cooker. We placed around 1 liter of water in it and although did not boil in 2 hours, it got substantially hot which gave us lots of promise.
Our group added a mechanism called a thermocouple which you can read more about with the link below to evaluate the temperature of our pot and see if it is getting hot enough for our desired foods
Our group places our solar cooker inside of our insulation and attached the cords to the solar panel outside
Pictured below our group is making a traditional dish of Ghana cuisine called Mpotompoto. It consists of sliced up yam, water, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and our personal seasoning. We left it out for many hours and as you can see at one point the soup began to steam
Although leaving the stew connected to solar panel and inside our fully insulated covering for much of the day we did not receive the results we were hoping for. As pictured our stew did not get hot enough to fully cook the yams in the stew which require the most heat. We believe this could be due to our insulation not performing as well as we had hoped. We also hope to check and test our wire connection more to make sure our full heat is able to amount to the bowl
Second cooking attempt
For our second cooking attempt we decided to try and fry potatoes as this is a very popular thing to eat in Ghana. However, we still had problems heating up the pot enough as it only got to around 70 degrees celsius. Because the temperature of oil has to be higher than that of water to cook we decided to steer away from frying food because it would prove to be much to difficult for only a small amount of different foods.
Creation of Final Design
On May 27 we decided our pot had to many flaws and was a quick design from the first day of class. We decided to scrap it and use what we have learned to create an entirely new cooking pot. Our team added 4 extra diodes to make the diode chain 25 in length. Along with this we wrapped it along the entire bottom of the pot as to give a more even cooking surface. Since copper has very good conductive qualities we bent copper plates around each diode which will disperse the heat given off by each diode allowing more surface area of the pot to have direct heat instead of strictly on each diode. Probabaly the biggest benefit of this which we had no idea of happening was that when we JB welded the copper plate to the diode to the cooker, it allowed the diode to be pushed very flush against the bottom of the cooker which was a large problem in our previous pot.
With our new and improved pot we have been able to cook at 100 degrees celsius. This is the boiling point of water and we have been able to cook anything from protein sources to stews. We couldn't be happier with how the food actually came out as it took us only around 4 hours for each meal. For our project we brought the traditional Ghanaian dish called Red Red which was a hit as it was completely empty by the end of presentations.