There is currently great emphasis on research regarding various aspects of energy sources but the question of optimum usage of the energy is equally important. This work seeks to produce an economic computer-aided design of a fire-clay pot based on conditions that give minimum cost per unit of usage time for the consumer. A percentage of energy loss from the fuel to the environment due to inefficiency of the heating system was incorporated as a variable in the calculations. Graphs are presented to indicate the calculated optimum economic pot thicknesses at various values of the inner radii. For a common inner radius of 6.0 cm and 75% energy loss, the optimum pot thicknesses for cooking at temperatures of 60, 80, and 100°C were found to be 9.6, 12.0, and 13.8 mm, respectively. The results show that the economic thickness increases with increase in both inner radius and cooking temperature. It has also been established that the operational cost increases with increase in temperature even at the optimum economic thickness. This work includes a study of the calorimetric value of the most commonly used types of wood and charcoal fuel, in Zambia, for clay-pot cooking. These types of fuel come from the four trees locally known as the Musamba, Mubanga, Mutondo, and Mutiti. Several wood and charcoal samples from all these trees were collected and experimentally analysed using an oxygen bomb calorimeter to determine the amount of heat energy in Joules which can be realizable per kilogram of the fuel materials.
Key words: Calorific value, economic operational cost, computer-aided design.
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