College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Biomedical and General Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in General Engineering



Primary Advisor

Lanny Griffin


This report describes the creation of a senior project. It recounts the steps taken from the initial design stages and choice of a parabolic trough solar concentrator, through the building process, and finally through the test stages of the project. The objective of the project was to test the capabilities of a Cal Poly trained engineer by performing a completely self guided process of designing, building, and testing a parabolic solar collection trough. This particular trough was designed to utilize the energy provided by the sun to heat water. The test results were compared with a mathematical model drafted during the design stage. Due to restrictions of cost and space, a miniature version of typical parabolic troughs used today was made. Because of the small scale of the project, actual use of the parabolic trough to heat water would not be feasible, although testing showed consistency with initial mathematical modeling.