Sprite Bottle Solar Reflector Fire

# 5 of 100 Ways. Start Fire Using a Sprite Bottle, a Wrapper, & Tinder

 How to use a plastic Sprite Bottle and a Pop Tart Wrapper to start fire.

by PapaD

 

You prolly won’t see this one anywhere else, at least until it is replicated. Yes, you can indeed use a plastic bottle as a magnifier to start fire. I will demonstrate this method eventually as it is among my one-hundred ways. This way turns the bottle neck into a parabolic reflector. Both ways follow simple principles that work. Once you start down this path, it gets kinda ridiculous as to how many ways these principles can be adapted. But ridiculous is good if it provides more ways to start fires in emergency situations. I also have used an eggshell in a similar way. Truth is that I have also used Mylar candy wrappers rolled into a funnel shape in my hand–with positive results as well. I plan to post a video of that method later. Meanwhile, you can go to the link at the bottom to see a video of this Sprite Bottle Method.

The main points to be learned are:

#1 Once you understand a few principles and techniques, you can adapt and apply them in other ways. Being mildly OCD, I can’t turn it off; once primed, I am constantly seeing things that trigger yet another way to make fire.

#2 There are three main ways to make fire using the sun. The first is using a convex, or round(ish) glass to concentrate and magnify the rays to ignite tinder. The second is to use a concave parabolic reflecting surface to concentrate the rays onto ignitable tinder. The third is to use the sun’s rays converted to electrical energy via solar cells.

#3 Ash cloth or other char is what makes this possible. Unlike glass magnifiers, I don’t think this will work without special pre-tinder. This is not to say that natural tinder won’t work, if you know what they are and where to find them. But don’t expect to just throw a leaf or a piece of paper in and have it fire up. Given the absolute optimum conditions, it might work, but don’t expect it.

In the YouTube Clip, I cut the parabola shaped plastic Sprite bottle off and lined it with a highly reflective piece of Mylar to make a parabolic reflector. I used the printed outside of the Mylar pop Tart package because it appeared more reflective than the unprinted inside. Past experience told me that the printing doesn’t seem to interfere with the reflector. I did not glue it, but it would have helped if I had because the shape of the parabola kept shifting as I tried to position pieces of ash cloth (char cloth). I wound up grabbing a piece of blue masking tape that was handy to help hold it together.

The sun was just about to go down and I was honestly afraid that it was not bright enough or direct enough to work by the time I got everything set. These factors do make a difference. The time of day (position of the sun), the time of year (angle of the sun), the clarity of the atmosphere, and the geographical longitude all make a difference as to the effectiveness of solar fire starting methods.

I also tried three different pieces of cloth before I finally got an ember.  I have never been able to get an ember this way without using some type of good carbonized material such as mushroom, wood, or cloth that has been burned as char or other known easily ignitable natural tinder. But this was less about the cloth itself than it was about keeping the reflector together and finding the focus.

The focus is the point where all rays converge into the most concentrated and therefore hottest point within the parabola. It can be found mathematically, which can be helpful at times when designing or working with new reflectors, but it is usually not necessary. In this case, the point kept changing because I had not secured the Mylar to the bottle. The flatter and shallower the reflector, the farther away from the center the focus becomes. Conversely,  the steeper and deeper the reflector is, the closer the focus is to the center and bottom of the reflector. The easiest way to find the general focus in this case was to stick my finger through the mouth of the bottle and determine where the heat was most intense. It only takes a split second to know where it is once you find it.

See the Video Clip at my Other blog site, One Hundred Ways to Start fire without Matches Link:

Sprite Bottle Reflector Fire

 

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