Alternative solar reflector materials

by Ray Medlin
(Toledo, Ohio)

I am recovering from a fairly serious operation and am bored to tears. My paying job has me working with world class companies in the area of renewable energy and I have been reading about solar cookers and the materials used in constructing the same. Today I took a trip to my local army surplus store and bought some materials that I feel can be fashioned into effective solar cookers for a very reasonable price. First of all I bought a solar blanket for $1.99 that I intend to experiment with. The surface of the blanket is very reflective and I have great expectations for the material as is. I intend to use a spray on adhesive to attach the reflective material to corrugated plastic panel. I also intend to procure the corrugated plastic by salvaging political signs that have been removed from private property by the local police and placed in containers at the local police station.
The second promising reflective material that I intend to experiment with is a windshield solar shield purchased at Big Lot for $7.00/ It is a highly reflective mylar coated and insulated material. I don't believe there is a necessity to do anything with this but cut, and shape the insulated reflector into the shape needed to construct the cooker.
I will work on this over the weekend and report back to the crew.
Best regards,


Thanks Ray for sharing with us your proposed solar cooker made of inexpensive and salvaged materials.

This is a very good idea.

There are many who have been able to come up with some very good solar cookers doing the same, we wish you success.

Please post a report with us on your efforts and even share a photo or two.


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Reflector material
by: James Simmons

I used one of those reflective emergency blankets with spray on adhesive for the reflectors on my first oven. It is indeed very reflective, but difficult to work with. It last a while although the blanket will start to break down especially if there is any moisture. The best deal I've come across for a longer lasting reflective material is chrome decal adhesive tape used for cars. A 14' x 8" roll goes for $10 at Auto-Zone and it adheres well to metal. Its okay for wood if the surface is very smooth. Recommend cutting sectional strips about 2-3" wide by the length of your reflector and overlap the strips by 1/8-1/4". The chrome tape also works great on parabolic dishes.

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