College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Industrial Engineering



Primary Advisor

Robert Carter


Believing that cooking with flame is cheaper and more efficient than cooking with electricity, Ugandan citizens have exposed themselves to several health and safety risks, including major respiratory issues through harmful emissions, pollution, and the burning down of many homes. Even though solar electric cooking is cheaper and healthier than cooking with flames in the long run, many Ugandans lack the resources to invest in cooking with electricity.

The Solar Stove student research team, led by Dr. Pete Schwartz, partnered with Aid Africa to bring solar panels and prototype solar electric cooking units to villages in Uganda. Observing how their product was used over the course of months, the team developed interest in immersion heaters to protect the user, prevent malfunction, and improve efficiency. Iterating on the team’s work, I’ve observed the manufacturing processes for immersion heaters and determined an experiment to find an optimal heater. 2 factors will be examined: insulation with magnesium oxide or gypsum, and heating with Nichrome wire or diodes. Constraints of the design include a $100 budget, a food-grade design, and resources available for manufacturing and assembly in Uganda. Testing has revealed that each arrangement of materials contributes to generally the same level of performance, given current requirements.

Deliverables of this project include a detailed manufacturing procedure, data, data analysis of thermal readings at maximum operating conditions (100 Watts), and a quantified recommendation for the best arrangement of immersion heaters.