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Build a small solar trough to make distilled water. - Page 3

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Posted by Morris Dovey on November 30, 2007, 10:44 pm
Anthony Matonak wrote:
| duber wrote:
|| thanks Duane, I am going to build this for sure.  distilled water
|| is by far the best to drink. I had thought about building the
|| trough on a purpose built cart, so i can move it around, to saftey
|| in canes.
| I am still of the opinion that a trough is overkill to distill
| water. You don't need the high temperatures a trough will provide
| to evaporate water and a less complex device has fewer things to go
| wrong.

A trough is overkill on temperature only. It'll be less efficient for
the task and present a danger to children and other wildlife.

The flat panel looks like a much better approach. If you're determined
to build a trough, I have a web page with photos of trough
construction and testing at the link below.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by duber on December 4, 2007, 4:58 pm
Yes that is what I am going to build.
looks like you did a great job.

my question; what is a good source for the mirror material?

Posted by Morris Dovey on December 4, 2007, 5:13 pm
 duber wrote:

| my question; what is a good source for the mirror material?

Check your local Yellow Pages for plastics distributors.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by Morris Dovey on December 5, 2007, 4:03 am
 duber wrote:
| Yes that is what I am going to build.

Something else to consider (beside the high-temperature hazard):

If you subject water to 700+F temperatures, the conversion of water to
steam may be almost explosive - and you may find that what you want to
remove from the water by distillation is carried right along with the

Of course, if your aim is just to kill bacteria that may not make much
difference, but you may find that oil, detergent, minerals, <whatever>
aren't as effectively removed as you'd like.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by Steve on December 6, 2007, 3:08 am
 Unless you have a really large collector, I doubt you'll see this problem.

When I was in high school (about 30 years ago) I built a cylindrical
parabolic collector (what seems to be called a trough collector these days).
The collector approx 4 ft by 4 ft.  When I first built the collector I held
a stick (a 1x2 as I recall) at the focus to see how good of a focus I had.
Much to my delight the stick started smoking immediately.

I put a piece of galvanized drainpipe at the focus along the length of the
pipe and found that the spread of the image of the sun on the pipe was about
an inch wide... well within the width of the pipe.

Then I did a little exprimenting pouring water into the pipe, interestingly
enough it took a while for the water to get hot.

In college I learned the difference between temperture and heat.

While a dry collector may heat up to 700+F degrees fairly quickly, adding
water will absorb the heat fairly quickly.  It's a lot like pouring water
into a hot pan on the stove.  You may get a hiss of steam with the first few
drops, but before you've added a cup you'll find that the water isn't
boiling and you have to wait for it to heat up.  Of course if you have a
really-really hot stove, or a really really big solar collector you might
bring that water to a boil immediatly... but I don't think that's what the
original poster was talking about.

Steve D.

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