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An experimental study on the development of a b-type Stirling engine

An experimental study on the development of a b-type Stirling engine

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An experimental study on the development of a
b
-type Stirling enginefor low and moderate temperature heat sources
Halit Karabulut
a,
*
, Hüseyin Serdar Yücesu
a
, Can Çınar
a
, Fatih Aksoy
b
a
Department of Mechanical Technology, Faculty of Technical Education, Gazi University, 06500 Teknikokullar, Ankara, Turkey
b
Department of Mechanical Technology, Faculty of Technical Education, Afyon Kocatepe University, 03100 Afyon, Turkey
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 30 October 2007Received in revised form 4 April 2008Accepted 5 April 2008Available online 27 May 2008
Keywords:
Beta type Stirling engineHot-air engineEngine performance
a b s t r a c t
In this study, a
b
-type Stirling engine was designed and manufactured which works at relatively lowertemperatures. To increase the heat transfer area, the inner surface of the displacer cylinder was aug-mented by means of growing spanwise slots. To perform a better approach to the theoretical Stirlingcycle,themotionofdisplacerwasgovernedbyalever.Theengineblockwasusedaspressurizedworkingfluid reservoir. The escape of working fluid, through the end-pin bearing of crankshaft, was prevented bymeans of adapting an oil pool around the end-pin. Experimental results presented in this paper wereobtainedbytestingtheenginewithairasworkingfluid. Thehotendofthedisplacercylinder washeatedwith a LPG flame and kept about 200
°
C constant temperature throughout the testing period. The otherendofthedisplacercylinderwascooledwithawatercirculationhaving27
°
Ctemperature.Startingfromambientpressure, theenginewastestedatseveral chargepressuresupto4.6bars. Maximumpowerout-put was obtained at 2.8 bars charge pressure as 51.93Wat 453rpmengine speed. The maximumtorquewas obtained as 1.17 Nm at 2.8 bars charge pressure. By comparing experimental work with theoreticalworkcalculatedbynodalanalysis,theconvectiveheattransfercoefficientatworkingfluidsideofthedis-placer cylinder was predicted as 447W/m
2
K for air. At maximumshaft power, the internal thermal effi-ciency of the engine was predicted as 15%.
Ó
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
For the current situation, fossil fuels meet most of the world’senergy demand, but because of the rapid depletion of fossil fuelsand environmental considerations, the interest in alternative en-ergy sources and effective energy conversion systems has signifi-cantly increased[1–3]. The energy conversion from solarradiation or any heat energy to mechanical energy can be per-formed via Stirling engines with high thermal efficiency. The Stir-ling engine is a mechanical device working with a closed cycle.In the theoretical cycle of the Stirling engine, the working fluid iscompressed at constant temperature, heated at constant volume,expanded at constant temperature and cooled at constant volume[4–6]. Since the Stirling engine is externally heated and the heataddition is continuous, many energy sources, such as solar radia-tion, combustible materials, radioisotope energy, all kind of fuelsso on, can be used. Stirling engines have less pollutant emissionsin comparison with internal combustion engines[4,7–9].TheStirlingenginewasfirstpatentedin1816byRobertStirling.Stirling engines built in 19th century were huge in volume andsmall in power. Modern Stirling engines are environmentallyharmless and thermally more efficient however, still there aresome problems to solve. In the last few decades, Stirling enginesoperating under low temperature difference, especially solar pow-ered low temperature difference Stirling engines, gained so muchimportance. These engines can be run with very small differencesintemperaturebetweenthehotandcoldsidesofthedisplacercyl-inder and are able to use low grade, cheap and waste heat sourcesincluding solar energy[9–12].Since 1816, many studies on Stirling engines have been con-ducted.TheeraofmodernStirlingenginedevelopmentwasstartedin 1937 by the Philips Company of The Netherlands. Philips devel-oped a number of Stirling engines of various sizes up to 336kW[12,13].In 1983, Kolin[11]demonstrated the first low temperature dif-ference Stirling engine. Senft[11,14]developed the Ringbom en-gine using the ideas introduced by Kolin. Iwamoto et al.[15]compared the performance of a high temperature difference Stir-lingenginewithalowtemperaturedifferenceStirlingengine.Theyconcluded that at the same working conditions the thermal effi-ciency of the low temperature difference Stirling engines will notreach that of high temperature difference Stirling engines.Kongragool and Wongwises[16]manufactured and tested twinpower pistons and four power pistons, gamma-configuration lowtemperature difference Stirling engines. Engines were tested with
0306-2619/$ - see front matter
Ó
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2008.04.003
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +90 312 2028639; fax: +90 312 2120059.
E-mail address:
halitk@gazi.edu.tr(H. Karabulut).Applied Energy 86 (2009) 68–73
Contents lists available atScienceDirect
Applied Energy
 
various heat inputs using a domestic gas burner. Power of enginesmeasured were far-off any industrial application.Cinar and Karabulut[9]designed and manufactured a gammatype Stirling engine. The engine was tested with air and helium.Maximum output power was obtained as 128.3W. Karabulutetal.[17]investigatedthethermodynamicperformancecharacter-istics of a novel mechanical arrangement of concentric Stirling en-gine using nodal analysis. In an experimental study, carried out byCinar et al.[18], a
b
-type prototype Stirling engine was manufac-tured and tests were conducted at atmospheric pressure. The en-gine provided maximum 5.98W brake power at 208rpm.AStirlingradioisotope generator having110Wpower output iscurrently being developed by the Department of Energy, LockheedMartin and the NASA Glenn Research Center to use in space inves-tigations. This generator promises higher efficiency, specificpowerand reduced mass compared to alternatives[19].This studyaims todevelopa Stirlingenginefor lowandmoder-ate temperature energy sources having 200–500
°
C heating range.The power output of the engine was designed as 500W. As work-ing fluid ambient air and helium was considered. The speed of theengine was designed as 1200rpm. The prime objective of the en-gine to be developed is solar power generation at domestic scale.The engine should be eligible to couple with a parabolic collectorand to reflect solar rays directly onto the hot end of displacercylinder.In most of solar energy applications of Stirling engine, the solarrays are concentrated by a parabolic dish and focused on a heatpipe. The solar energy received by the heat pipe is converted toheat and conveyed to the heater or hot end of the Stirling engine.The heat pipe is used to reduce the energy losses by thermal radi-ation and reflection as well as satisfying the uniform heating. AStirling engine working at 200–250
°
C hot end temperature is notexposed to high thermal stresses. The energy loss by thermal radi-ation is also not too much. Therefore, in a domestic scale solar en-ergy conversion system the use of a Stirling engine working at200–250
°
C hot end temperatures may exclude the heat pipe andsimplify the system as well as reducing the cost of construction.The engine being developed is also considered for water pumpingin greenhouses.
2. Mechanical arrangement
InFig. 1andTable 1,the mechanical arrangement of the man- ufactured
b
-type Stirling engine and its specifications are shown.The cylinder of the engine consists of two sections connected toeach other end-to-end. The first part functions as piston liner andmade of oil hardening steel. The second part functions as displacercylinder and made of ASTM steel. The displacer and the displacercylinder wall were used as a regenerator. Two different displacercylinders were manufactured and tested. One of them has asmooth inner surface and the other has augmented inner surfacewithrectangularslotshaving2mmwidthand3mmdepth.Thein-nersurfaceof thepistonlinerwasfinishedbyhoning. Theexternalsurfaceofthepistonlineriscooledbywatercirculation.Thepistonwas made of aluminum alloy because of its light weight andmachining simplicity. The surface of the piston was machined atsuper-finish quality. Appropriate value of clearance between pis-ton and piston liner was determined experimentally.As shown inFig. 1, the crankshaft has only one pin for the con-nection of piston rod and lever arm. The motion of the displacer isgoverned by a lever. The lever-controlled mechanism and theassemblyofpistonanddisplacerareshowninFig.2.Thelevercon-sists of two arms with 70
°
conjunction angle. One of them holds a
Fig. 1.
Schematic illustration of the test engine.
Nomenclature
s
c
length of cold volume (m)
s
h
length of hot volume (m)
p
2
distance between piston top and piston pin (m)
d
displacer length (m)
l
d
length of displacer rod (m)
l
m
distance of fixing pin and crank pin (m)
l
length of displacer rod (m)
l
p
length of piston rod (m)
length of lever arm connected to displacer rod (m)
i
nodal values of working fluid temperature (K)
c
length from cylinder top to the fixing pin center (m)
D
d
angle made by displacer rod with cylinder axis (rad)
b
p
angle made by piston rod with cylinder axis (rad)
c
angle made by slotted arm of lever with cylinder axis(rad)
ð
p
2
À
u
Þ
Conjunction angle of lever arms (rad)
H. Karabulut et al./Applied Energy 86 (2009) 68–73
69
 
slot bearing as the other holds a circular bearing. At the corner of lever,athirdbearingexists.Theleverismountedtothebodyofen-gine through the bearing at the corner by means of a pin. The slotbearing at one arm of the lever is connected to the crank pin. Thecircular bearing at the other arm of lever is connected to the dis-placer rod. While the crank pin turns around the crank center, itdrives the lever fort and back around the pin connecting the leverto the body. The other arm connected to the displacer rod movesthe displacer up and down. Both ends of crankshaft were beddedwith ball bearings. Escape of working fluid through the crankshaftbed was prevented by means of adapting an oil pool around thecrank shaft end-pin. As long as the charge pressure was below5bars no air leak was observed. The block of the engine was man-ufactured of two parts and coupled by screws. Between two partsof the engine block a plastic seal was set. To lubricate workingparts of the engine some oil was filled into the engine block andits circulation was satisfied by throwing via the lever arm.
3. Kinematic relations
Thermodynamic analysis was conducted by using the nodalprogram presented by Karabulut et al.[17]. The working space of the engine was divided into 50 nodal volumes. To calculate nodalvalues of hot and cold volumes, kinematic relations
c
¼
l
d
cos
b
d
À
sin
ð
c
À
u
Þþ
l
À
l
m
cos
c
À
l
p
cos
b
p
À
p
2
;
ð
1
Þ
h
¼
c
À
l
d
cos
b
d
À
sin
ð
c
À
u
ÞÀ
l
À
d
ð
2
Þ
were used. In these equations
b
p
is the angle between piston rodand cylinder axis and defined as
b
p
¼
Arcsin
cr
l
p
sin
h
:
ð
3
Þ
b
d
,
c
and
l
m
are; the angle between displacer rod and cylinderaxis, the angle between slotted arm of lever and cylinder axisand the distance between lever’s fixing pin and crank pin, respec-tively. Mathematical definitions of them depend on the location of the lever’s fixing pin. The point providing the maximum work percycle was chosen as the location of fixing pin and determined viaisothermal analysis. With respect to the location of fixing pin;
b
d
,
c
and
l
m
were defined as
c
¼
Arctan0
:
7071
þ
sin
h
2
:
5
þ
cos
h
;
ð
4
Þ
b
d
¼
ArcsinS
l
d
cos
ð
cu
ÞÀ
cr
l
d
0
:
7071
;
ð
5
Þ
L
m
¼
c
ð
0
:
7071
þ
sin
h
Þ
sin
c
:
ð
6
Þ
The conjunction angle of lever arms was defined as
ð
p
2
À
u
Þ
andthe optimum value of 
u
was determined as 0.35rad. Nodal vol-umes within the regenerator have constant values and take placearound the displacer.
4. Experimental apparatus and testing procedure
A prony type dynamometer with accuracy of 0.003Nm wasusedforloadingtheengine. Thespeedof theenginewasmeasuredbyadigitaltachometer,ENDAETS1410,with1rpmaccuracy.Tem-peratures were measured with a non-contact infrared thermome-ter, DT-8859, with ±2
°
C accuracy. Heat was supplied by a LPGburner. The charge pressure was measured with a bourdon tubepressure gauge with 0.1bar accuracy and 0–10bars measurementrange. A pressure regulating valve was used for the regulation of thechargepressure.Theschematicviewoftheexperimentalappa-ratus is shown inFig. 3.The charge pressure was applied to the block of the engine anditsvaluewasreadfromthepressuregauge.Bymeansof increasingand decreasing the external load, the speed of the engine was sta-bilizedatanydesiredvalueandthenreadingoftheload;speedandtemperature were made simultaneously.
5. Results and discussion
Thevariationof coldvolume,hotvolumeandtotalvolumewiththe crank angle is shown inFig. 4. In the engine the minimum va-lue of cold volume appears about 50
°
of crank angle and, beforeand after 50
°
it performs significant variations. This interval of crank angle corresponds to expansion period of working fluid.The interval of crankshaft angle from 135
°
to 225
°
correspondsto cooling process at constant volume. In this process the mecha-nism presents a better performance by means of minimizing thehot volume and maximizing the cold volume without changingthe total volume.
Table 1
Technical specification of the test engine
Parameters SpecicationEngine type
b
Power piston Bore
Â
stroke (mm) 70
Â
60Swept volume (cc) 230Displacer Bore
Â
stroke (mm) 69
Â
79Swept volume (cc) 295Working uid AirCooling system Water cooledCompression ratio 1.65Total heat transfer area of thedisplacer cylinder (cm
2
)1705Maximum engine power 51.93W (at 453rpm)
Fig. 2.
The lever-controlled mechanism, piston and displacer assembly.70
H. Karabulut et al./Applied Energy 86 (2009) 68–73

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