The Light Sharpener

Intro Build Foil Mirror Burn Epilogue FAQ
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15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

23 FAQ

Although it was not a full block of ice, I was able to pluck a nice brown chunk of ice from the freezer. I had frozen a couple of paper handles within.

The ice looked terrific as it melted! The ice became a bright, glowing ball. A thin stream of water poured off of it immediately.

I wanted to see the ice shrink right in front of my eyes, but it was too bright to see exactly what was happening in there. Steam poured off of it, and it made terrific little crackling sounds.

Within a minute or so, the handles broke loose and the ice fell to the mirrors. I made a note to try that one again.

I wondered how long it would take to melt a gallon of ice, and how long it would take to convert that gallon into steam.

The next test that afternoon was Jiffy Pop Popcorn.

Jiffy Pop comes pre-packaged in a disposable aluminum frying pan, with a foil top which expands upward as it fills with popped corn. This seemend like the perfect target... the bottom of the pan was black, which is much better at absorbing light than a silver one.

I thought this would make a terrific video, with a nice popping report of heat-accumulating victory.

See the video now, if you can, there are spoilers below.

Well, everything started off fine. After poking the popcorn pan out into the focal point, and readjusting the angle, steam began to blow out of the topside blow-hole. Then sizzling oil began dripping from the pan.

I forgot to shake the pan until it was too late. Two minutes in, the aluminum bottom melted through, dumping most of the corn onto the dish with a flash of light.

I continued, hoping to get the remaining kernals popped, but in a few more seconds, the pan had caught fire.

It was a failure, but a spectacular one: The light sharpener was too hot for Jiffy Pop popcorn.


The next test was a frozen chicken breast. Costco sells packages of these wrapped breasts. They are very convenient.

The breasts are vacuum packed, and given a thin shell of ice to protect them from freezer burn.

That wasn't going to protect it from sharpener burn.

I cooked the chicken as our ancestors had, wrapped to a ten-foot piece of conduit, poised above a thousand-watt solar oven.

It didn't take long. In about three minutes, the exposed ice had melted and evaporated, and the chicken was cooking with all the appropriate sounds.

This is a photo taken from below, through a crack between the mirrors.

Most of the video was unusable, but this photo captures the result. Overcooked chicken. The other side still had ice on it.

I needed a really long-armed rotisserie.

Please continue reading page 17 of the Light Sharpener

Intro Build Foil Mirror Burn Epilogue FAQ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

23 FAQ

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July 24th, 2007.   Terms and Conditions  Copyright 2007