Solar Cutting Torch

You may wonder why I would careabout a solar dish that has been about for thousands of years.  The reason is that I am reminded of apeculiar fact related to this technology.

A smooth parabolic mirror createstoo narrow a power peak and this sharply reduces the thermodynamic efficiencyof the system itself.

By simply pasting 5800 mosaiclike tiles on the surface he has developed a tile sized focus that collectsenergy from all 5800 mirrors over that cross section without any special peaksthat destroy uniformity.

Thirty years ago I met with adeveloper who had an efficient horizontal parabolic mirror set to capture lightover a two inch wide collector for the exact same reason.

One can see here that if the sun’senergy is able to provide one degree of gain through each mirror, then 5800 suchmirrors will handily provide 5800 degrees of temperature gain.  Most important it is spread uniformly over atile sized focus or a bit larger if need be.

The key to this device’spractical importance is the spreading of the incoming energy onto a tile sizedfocus.  It really could be used forcutting steel.

The take home lesson is that thiscan be fabricated in your garage from a molded parabolic shape using fiber glassor even plaster. (just use a satellite dish as your initial mold) and a lot ofmirrored tiles that are small and a lot of cheap glue.  One would just work in from the outer edgeand not worry too much about the center where you may want a hole to send theworking beam back.

There is plenty of need in thedeveloping world in particular for a metal cutting tool that is cheap.  This certainly does the job.

Look what I made, mum! Teenager builds 'death-ray' which can burnthrough almost anything

Last updated at 4:40 PM on 31st January 2011

While many teenagers are content to sit at home playing computer games,this one has set his sights on something a little more ambitious.

Eric Jacqmain, from Indiana in the US, covered an ordinary fibreglasssatellite dish with 5,800 tiny mirror tiles - and made his very own 'deathray'.

When aligned correctly it can generate a heat spot a couple ofcentimetres across, with an intensity of 5,000 shining suns, the 19-year-oldclaims.

Solar power: Eric Jacqmain labelled his 'death ray' dish his 'latestand greatest solar invention' - and he is working on further developments

Power: This piece of wood stood no chance against Eric Jacqmain'sspectacular invention

The inventor then posted video of his invention on YouTube, with peoplecommenting in awe of the power of the satellite.

The ray generates enough power to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boilconcrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in aninstant. 

It stands at 5ft 9ins and measures just 42 inches across.

Jacqmain, commenting on YouTube said : 'I drilled a small hole in thedish and glued a piece of PVC pipe on the back. 

'Light shines through the hole and hits the translucent plastic on theend of the pipe. All I had to do was aim the dish once and mark the spot.

'As long as the target doesn't conduct heat away too fast it will meltor vaporize just about anything eventually. 

'I have vaporized before carbon, which occurs above 6,500 Fahrenheit.'

Next up: The paint can lid is next to feel the power of the satellite

...but as a hole appears in the lid, the 'death ray' emerges as theeasy victor

The American teenager called his invention the R5800 solar 'death ray'.

Putting it into context, just the tiny fraction of the Sun's energythat hits the Earth (around a hundredth of a millionth of a percent) is enoughto meet all our power needs many times over.

In fact, every minute, enough energy arrives at the Earth to meet ourdemands for a whole year - if only we could harness it properly. 

Sturdy stuff? Up steps the rock to take on the solar beast

....but it's the same result as the rays melt through the toughsubstance

Unfortunately for Jacqmain, his 'death ray' dish met it's own grislyend when it was destroyed in a shed fire.

Jacqmain added: 'Yeah. It "committed suicide". It's verylikely that it was the cause of the fire. Nothing left of it but half meltedwagon parts and the adjustable mount.'
If there was ever a case of self-destruction, this was it.

But Jacqmain's despair at the death of his 'death ray' has simplyspurred him on to develop a yet more powerful alternative.

'Plans already in place for the new one, he added. 

'The goal is to use about 32,000 mirrors this time.'

Impressive: Jacqmain's invention was made from an ordinary fibreglasssatellite dish and covered in about 5,800 mirror tiles

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