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Published by: alirezata on Feb 29, 2012
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The net energy flow rate in the regenerator represents a loss mechanism since this

energy must be carried by the gross refrigeration effect of the expander whether it be a

pulse tube or a Stirling displacer. The regenerator loss is a result of conduction and

dispersion in the gas, conduction in the matrix, and net enthalpy flow due to the mass flux

and enthalpy being partially in phase. Only in the limit of zero conduction or dispersion

and zero net enthalpy flux is the regenerator loss zero.

Figure 35 is a comparison of the calculated regenerator loss for the three models

(CTM, LTEM, and DEEM) with additional calculations to compare the effect of real gas

properties. The ideal gas cases additionally assume constant properties evaluated at the


mean temperature. The operating conditions were kept constant for all models. The

Constant Temperature model, as described in Chapter 3, is the most idealized model.

The only non-idealities included in this model are pressure drop, gas conduction and

dispersion, and matrix conduction. The resulting regenerator loss is only 0.33 W, due

mainly to conduction and dispersion. The addition of real gas properties results in a 0.8

W increase. This increase in the regenerator loss is due to the fact that the enthalpy for a

real gas depends on both temperature and pressure. For the ideal gas, enthalpy depends

only on temperature, which is constant for this model. As a result, the real gas enthalpy

oscillates partially in phase with the mass flux. For the case of ideal gas, constant

properties evaluated at the average of the end point temperatures were used. This has a

significant impact on the viscosity which is strongly dependent on temperature over the

range of interest.

The Local Thermal Equilibrium model was written only for ideal gas. So a good

comparison of the increase in the regenerator loss due to finite thermal capacity is the

ideal gas CTM and the LTEM. In this case, there is a 0.86 W increase. This increase in

regenerator loss is due to additional net enthalpy flow due to the local temperature

oscillation which is allowed in this model. As a result, the enthalpy oscillates locally in

phase with the temperature (and partially in phase with the mass flux.)

The Dual Energy Equation Model captures all of the non-idealities in the

regenerator, specifically the addition of finite temperature difference between the gas and

matrix. This temperature difference leads to an increase in net enthalpy flow of nearly a


watt (comparing the ideal gas LTEM and ideal gas DEEM.) This increase is due to a

more adverse (smaller) phase angle between enthalpy and mass flux.

Being able to decompose the total regenerator loss provides insight into the

relative importance of the competing design challenges with regenerators. Although

there are no direct simulations provided in this report, as the cold temperature decreases

below the 20 K point the problem of matrix heat capacity becomes a severely limiting

factor. The reason is made evident by comparing the CTM and LTEM results. A factor

that is present at any temperature is the inverse relationship between heat transfer

effectiveness and pressure drop. This analysis does not explicitly illustrate the effect of

pressure drop. Pressure drop represents a loss of available energy for the pulse tube or

expander piston to convert to refrigeration.









Constant T
Ideal Gas

Constant T
Real Gas

Ideal Gas

Dual E
Ideal Gas

Dual E
Real Gas

Regenerator Loss [W]

Figure 35 – Comparison of regenerator loss calculated with limiting case models
based on identical operating conditions (ideal gas assumes constant properties.)


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