Students Design Sustainable Solar Cookers
On May 4th, Parks engineering students in Dr. Condoor’s Introduction to Design and Manufacturing Course put sustainable inventions to the test. The class was tasked with designing, building and testing solar ovens to address the dual problem of poor quality and insufficient quantity of cooking fuel, that has much to do with extreme poverty, poor education, gender inequality, high child mortality rates, ailing health and a lack of environmental sustainability.
Each team conceptualized, crafted and tested their solar ovens, which had to be able to boil water and cook food for an individual family or small group. The groups were asked to provide the following:
- evidence that their oven meets the above specifications
- a functional prototype of the oven
- originally created design specifications and plans that would allow someone to construct a replica oven
- detailed cost to reproduce oven if it was mass produced by hand using readily available materials
- environmental impact studies, including the carbon foot print calculations.
The teams had two hours to achieve their desired result of boiling water and cooked food. Those participating not only enjoyed being able to apply their engineering skills to real world problems, they also found it rewarding to see how they could use their skills and ingenuity to invent products which could serve the greater good.
Jessica Rozycki, a sophomore in the class, said, “it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about sustainable design and manufacturing.”