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The most unusual object I have come across that was thought to be responsible for causing a fire in this way was was a goldfish bowl filled with water and goldfish.
Interesting. While efficiency is always a goal, sufficient accumulation of heat to drive an LTD Stirling engine, employing cheap, DIY materials, would be a wonderful thing. That's (basically) what I'm after.
You don't need to focus the light in order to get solar heating, though. You just need the filling to be black and to absorb the energy.
using a hemishperical mirror would be easier but then you would need to keep moving it to point it at the sun.
I've had an idea. I'll conduct an experiment, using only cheap, passive materials, and let everyone here know.
First Law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed