The solar hot water heater can be quite versatile. The heated water can be used for a variety of different uses, the most popular use being hot water on tap.
Other uses: Heating swimming pools, distilling water, power generation, room heating. Can you think of some other uses? Remember water is not the only liquid that can be heated.
When constructing your solar panel, research the materials that will best suit the application, for instance, copper pipes would not be used for salty water, high quality stainless steel pipes would be required and a different construction method.
There are varying types of glass sheets available. Insulation can vary in quality and depending on the application will determine what type to use, this will require some research. The outer casing we recommend using is sheet aluminium because of its weight and its resistance to corrosion. The size of pipe is also very important because heat causes resistance, also pipe fittings or cup links will be required to fit these pipes.
Construction of the panel can be organised and made by the class or as a family group. Alternatively, plans can be drawn up for an engineering firm to manufacture the solar panel to your specifications, either way there is considerable planning to do and lots of communication to obtain a quality finished product.
This will largely depend on what materials you choose to make the panel with, generally you will require a pipe cutting tool, hacksaw, electric drill with a good set of drill bits, centre punch, hydraulic press, to press the pipe groves in the copper or aluminium sheet, oxy acetylene welding set, LPG gas torch and soldering tip, sheet metal bender, a good file set, pop rivet tool, emery paper, paint brush, protective head gear, leather gloves, leather apron and I'm sure you will find the need for other tools.
For copper construction, 20 swg copper sheet, 12mm and 25mm high grade copper pipe, sheet galvanised iron or sheet aluminium, 25mm aluminium square angle, silver solder and flux, 50/50 lead/tin solder and flux, plate glass sheet 6mm cut to size, insulation glass fibre or polyurethane, flat black paint, 4 x 25mm brass threaded ends, pop rivets, self-drilling screws and silicon rubber to seal the glass cover.
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