Solar Heat Ray (Melting Metal)

Augustin-Jean Fresnel was a French engineer and physicist that invented a special lens for lighthouses during the early 1800s. Today, cheap fresnel lenses can be found in older-model projection televisions.


In the previous solar heat ray experiment, we built the solar heat ray and boiled water.

In this experiment, a penny is caught in the heat ray and melts.

The penny melts.

The penny becomes unrecognizable.

Made mostly of zinc, pennies melt at a temperature of 787 degrees Fahrenheit (419.4 degrees Celsius).

Other coins are caught in the beam.

By drilling a hole in one of the pennies, a partially melted penny becomes a souvenir of the solar heat ray experiment.

Temperatures exceeding 787 degrees Fahrenheit (419.4 degrees Celsius) are recorded with the Fresnel lens in the sun. The experiment can give you an idea of how inhospitable the planet Venus is. Though it is the closest planet to Earth, Venus maintains an average temperature of 864 F (462 C).