Engineering Class Tests Out U of A Solar Oven Project


Matt Brown, Reporter

On the 31st of January, Mr. Davis’ Engineering class took their homemade (or class-made) solar ovens they’ve been working on for the past three months outside to cook some biscuits during 1st and 2nd lunch. “The curriculum of the U of A’s engineering design field included this activity” says Mr. Davis. “The class Engineering 102 has dual class credits for both high school and Engineering in U of A.”

I asked them several questions regarding the project itself, which included the building process, problems they ran into, etc. “The overall process was easy to an extent; we took cardboard boxes, taped them together, added tin foil as reflectors, and insulation. The overall process took about 3 months, but it was overall really fun,” says the Senior Robert Swaggerty. Austin Bardiau, Senior, replied with, “Some issues that we ran into was making sure everything was airtight, which seemed like an engineering feat of its own. The things inside had a possibility of melting, so it was a struggle.”

“The prototypes were so problematic, which is why it took us three months to get it all together. One main issue was making sure everything was sealed off correctly because there were so many places air could escape. When we would try it, the air inside would get really hot and try to escape – as it does when heating things – so we tried our best to keep heat in,” Vincent Dame, Senior, explains.

When asked what they would take back, I got a response close to the prototype question. “In pretesting, leakage was a really big issue, so sealing things off better would have been preferred. Most issues came pretty last-minute, so we made a few adjustments, and here we are, hoping for the best,” says Joshua Tidwell, Senior.

The last question I had for Mr. Davis was, “Is there any advice you’d like to give to students who want to become or are thinking about being engineers?” He replied, “Engineering is one of the smartest ways to help people out. One little idea can positively affect the lives of millions of people. Engineers are here to help people by making things. The scale of people that can be helped with just a simple idea is larger than most people consider.” If you or anyone you know is looking for some sort of foothold into the world of engineering, talk to Mr. Davis about being in his Engineering 102 class for a high school and U of A credit in engineering and begin helping people today!