Journal of Undergraduate Research


sunflowers, solar panels, beeswax, solar power


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering


Inspired by the mechanics of how sunflowers follow the sun, we designed a system to increase output from solar panels by only using simple mechanics and beeswax. Solar power is becoming increasingly popular even in developing countries. We wanted to create a way to increase the power output of solar panels in such areas that lack technical support for current panel rotating mechanisms. When temperatures increase, beeswax expands, and we harness the motion by filling a piston with the beeswax. We use this motion to cause solar panels to turn, following the sun throughout the day and increasing electrical output.