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Help save the bees!

A blog following the beekeepers at the University of Washington.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Building a Solar Wax Melter!

For one of our class research projects, we are learning how bees secrete wax and testing wax to learn about pesticide contamination. For this purpose, we built a solar wax melter on Saturday to test old comb we have acquired from the apiary. We will use it to process wax and test pesticide residues. Photos from our work party after the jump.

  1. Starting the box
  2. Alyssa fits the melting pan
  3. Interior view; melted wax will flow through the slit in the partition to the collection chamber
  4. Nearly finished melter! 

  1. Biochar oven makes charcoal, powder of which is the active purification ingredient
  2. Wax with charcoal powder added
  3. Filtering the charcoal out of the wax; heat lamp used to keep the filtration system flowing
  4. Finished product, pure wax without charcoal and hopefully without contaminants. On left, fiberglass filter, faster but with some carbon residue stain. On right, paper filter, slower but without residue.

Next steps: render sample batches, process, send samples to professional lab for analysis. The team will be doing this on real samples soon!

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