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Old 11-12-09, 11:56 AM   #1
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Default Eco-Challenge: Plastic Mirrors

Hi Everyone,

I salvaged over 50 sheets of two-foot square mirrors that would have otherwise went straight into a landfill.

What do you think would be the best use of of these mirrors for some sort of eco-project?

Points for creativity, simlicity, and cost-effectiveness!


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Old 11-12-09, 01:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
What do you think would be the best use of of these mirrors for some sort of eco-project?
Cut them into strips and make 'Sun Chimes'.

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Old 11-12-09, 04:11 PM   #3
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They look pretty lightweight, so make a satelite that will reflect sunlight down onto your house at night, reducing your electricity needs for lights. Just kidding

Since there are so many, you can use them for a few projects. One idea is to lay them at a certain angle in front of your south wall, reflecting more light into the house during the winter. During the summer they can be used to shade the windows as NiHaoMike suggested, or even the roof. I've also been thinking about a vertical wall of mirrors for the east/west windows: During the winter you put mirrors on the north side of the east/west windows so that they reflect more light into the house. In the summer, they get moved to the south end of the window frame, with the reflective side facing north. This shades the window from direct sunlight, but reflects light from the north into the room.



This "wall of mirrors" could be hinged to act as a closeable storm window, so that it doesn't stick 2ft. out into the wind.
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Old 11-12-09, 06:52 PM   #4
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I think it would be awesome to do a concentrated solar generator. According to this site, it is the 2nd best renewable energy source. Don't ask me HOW to do it, but it would be very cool. Make a portable version to charge up the car!
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Old 11-13-09, 12:29 AM   #5
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They might help the performance of your cold frames in the garden.

If you have a cabinet beside a window, such that the glass is mostly visible from one side, you can put mirror on the cabinet to double your view and bring more light into a room.
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Old 11-13-09, 12:50 AM   #6
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To have lots of Fun with the Sun, a strip of flexible mirror about 4" wide by 2' long can be key. You put a straight handle on each end, to make it easy to bend and twist the mirror. Then, you go into a blacked-out room whose only source of light is a few prisms in full sunlight. Picking a handy beam of colours, you reflect it from your mirror either directly onto a wall or ceiling, where you can readily make it assume fantastic, dancing shapes, or onto a pile of wrinkled aluminum foil and other reflective trash, which will fill the room with fainter patterns. It goes well with music.
Getting sunlight onto the prisms, such as a very good octagonal chandelier jewel, is best arranged with a Spectral Bazooka. A cardboard tube pokes through a blacked-out window, with the prisms at the inside end. Outside is a mirror hinged to one side of the tube. It can be adjusted for angle by pulling its support string from inside, and by rotating the tube.
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Old 12-23-09, 07:43 PM   #7
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Since they are flexible, the best use of the mirrors would be arrange them parabolically and aim at the sun. Run a pipe along the focal point for the length of the mirror assembly and pump water through it in a primary closed loop.

Using a fluid with a lower boiling temp than water, such as ammonia in a secondary closed loop, it would be possible during summer months to heat the fluid and create enough steam to run a steam engine (conservatively 1 to 1 1/2 HP). Assuming 746 watts/hp you could generate 1000+ watts of electicity during daylight hours.

A closed loop of fluid could be possible if the exhausted steam were condensed in a pipe running through a water bath and back to the water to ammonia heat exchanger.

There are other, simpler uses for heat generated by the parabolic collector, this one is pretty exotic and complicated, I know.
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Old 12-23-09, 11:23 PM   #8
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Large reflector for solar hating through windows.
Or maybe backs to diy solar water heating panels.
I should dig for some similar ones for my batch water heater.
Any idea what temperature they will handle?
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Old 12-24-09, 10:55 AM   #9
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I don't know how much heat the mirrors will handle. They are just plastic. They would work great as reflectors EXTERNAL to a batch water heater.

The one that I have sitting in my garage (which is about 20 degrees farenheight right now...) has warped a bit. I think the plastic backing and the mirrored surface expand and contract at different temperatures, bending the mirror.

So, if there was an application where the mirrors themselves get hot, the big problem might be keeping them flat and properly mounted.

I saw a great, simple solar technology at:
IWillTry.org Build a heliostat for solar heating and lighting
It's basically a big reflector that tracks the sun and constantly blasts a beam of light through the north window on the guy's house.
I have poor solar access at my house, but I LOVE this concept!

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Old 12-24-09, 11:50 AM   #10
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So, it looks like you finally read my reply to your first mirror post last month.?.

http://ecorenovator.org/forum/applia....html#post4782


Do I win a prize? Are you going to send me a dozen of those mirrors??

The north side of my house needs some extra heat! It's too far from the heat pump source in the living room..


I wonder if about 90 sq feet of mirrors would cover the surface of this 10.5 foot dish?


OR, Maybe some very thin (flexible) mirrors could be bend into the shape of the dish? (To cover all the surface area).

I could install a little black boiler at the focal point and pipe some hot water into my home..

I think this sun-tracker circuit Solar Tracker Circuit Kit and a 12V battery and PV charger panel would add a little to the BOM, but it would be a fun project.

For elevation, I could just go out to the dish once a day and tweak the height bolt with a wrench..
When I was away on summer vacation, I wouldn't care about hot water production..



Merry New Year!
Rich


Last edited by Xringer; 01-17-10 at 03:50 PM.. Reason: adding pic
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