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Posts: 2,448
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi gang-

Although it's not really the season for thinking about adding heat to our homes, I came across this article about how most aluminum cans now have a thin plastic coating inside. This coating prevents the drink inside from reacting with aluminum. Highly acidic or alkaline drinks would otherwise eat way at raw aluminum. 

While I knew a few drink cans had a thin liner, now it seems most do. I always thought the coating was a very thin sprayed on coating similar to the outside of a can. So if you are thinking about building an aluminum can heater, you may want to check if the cans you are collecting have this coating, especially if you are trying to avoid any potential off-gassing. This off gassing could cause health issues to those that are sensitive. It could also fog up the underside of your glazing.

Make sure to watch the very short video that is within the article. It will certainly open your eyes to using cans. A heater design using downspouts instead of cans, might be a good substitute.

Greg in MN


Posts: 565
Reply with quote  #2 
A TV science guy also did that experiment a while back.

In a quick check I couldn't find out exactly what coating is currently used.  I think all food/drink cans are coated.  Even downspouts may have a coating.  I looked at a piece and it didn't appear to be bare aluminum inside.  Any metal can have a residue from processing, such as a lubricant.  For all collectors it is a good idea to burn them in for a while with outdoor air.  On mine I slowed the air flow to get a higher temp than normal operation.

Kevin H


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for bringing this topic to light.  Most of the solar hot air heaters are designed specifically for the maximum efficiency- and rightly so.  However, many of the construction materials described in these posts are quite toxic and off-gas, especially when heated.  What good is free heat if it will poison the air you breath? If you're not chemically sensitive or sick now, you will be down the road using one of these heaters.
Has anyone done any research on building solar hot air heaters with non-toxic materials? I am very interested in constructing one. Thank you.

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Posts: 3,029
Reply with quote  #4 
If in doubt build an ARETHA. All the questionable air stays in the collector.
Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
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