Can I do that again? Dramatic demonstration of the power of the sun

Powerful stuff, sunshine. Two square metres of mirror can generate 3,500ºC temperatures — enough to burn/melt anything. Let no-one tell you that solar power hasn’t got the potential to be a game-changer. Video from the BBC series Bang Goes The Theory a couple of years ago. Mirrors at the Solar Furnace Research Facility in France. Hat tip to Bill Ramsay. Can I try?

5 thoughts on “Can I do that again? Dramatic demonstration of the power of the sun”

  1. It is impressive indeed. However keep in mind that this is simply an energy density phenomenon. A 2m diameter mirror has a surface area of 3.142m2. In theory at best ground level solar flux you would get about 3KW of power into that mirror. The same power as an electric cook top element. Optical concentration however can – unlike the cook top – focus this onto a very small spot. And there you get the huge focal temperature. No magical amplification of power or energy happens. Its still just 3KW but now going through a tiny spot in space.

  2. I have a 1.8 metre diameter (2.5 square metre) parabolic solar cooker. Its a real beast on a clear day I tell you!. The focal spot isn’t perfect (thank goodness) but it cooks a mean steak n onions. Probably averages 1kW on a cooking pot as we bring it up to heat that we then drop the pot into a straw box to cook on, serving a few hours later. So we eat cooked food on sunny days, and raw food on cloudy. Nigel

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