stirling | Cylinder (Engine) | Internal Combustion Engine

Q: How do Stirling Engines work?

A: Stirling engines can be hard to understand. Here are the key points. Every Stirling engine has a sealed cylinder with one part hot and the other cold. The working gas inside the engine (which is often air, helium, or hydrogen) is moved by a mechanism from the hot side to the cold side. When the gas is on the hot side it expands and pushes up on a piston. When it moves back to the cold side it contracts. Properly designed Stirling engines have two power pulses per revolution, which can make them very smooth running. Two of the more common types are two piston Stirling engines and displacer-type Stirling engines. The two piston type Stirling engine has two power pistons. The displacer type Stirling engine has one power piston and a displacer piston. Displacer Type: The displacer type Stirling engine is shown here. The space below the displacer piston is continuously heated by a heat source. The space above the displacer piston is continuously cooled. The displacer piston moves the air (displaces the air) from the hot side to the cold side. Displacer Engine Detail:

Click here for animation... Gas expands when heated, and contracts when cooled. Stirling engines move the gas from the hot side of the engine, where it expands, to the cold side, where it contracts. DISPLACER PISTON When there is a temperature difference between upper displacer space and lower displacer space, the engine pressure is changed by the movement of the displacer. The pressure increases when the displacer is located in the upper part of the cylinder (and most of the air is on the hot lower side). The pressure decreases when the displacer is moved to the lower part of the cylinder. The displacer only moves the air back and forth from the hot side to the cold side. It does not operate the crankshaft and the engine. In other words, the connecting rod to the displacer could be a string in this engine and it would still work. POWER PISTON When the engine pressure reaches its maximum because of the motion of the displacer, a power piston is pushed by the expanding gas adding energy to the crankshaft. The power piston should ideally be 90 degrees out of phase with the displacer piston. The displacer type Stirling engine is operated by the power of the power piston. A special thanks to Koichi Hirata for the excellent illustrations!

Two Piston Type: The two piston type Stirling engine is shown here. The space above the hot piston is continuously heated by a heat source. The space above the cold piston is continuously cooled.

Two-Piston Engine Detail:

Click here for animation... HEATING Let's start from top dead center of the hot piston. The hot piston moves to the upper part of the cylinder and the cold piston moves to the lower part of the cylinder during the first 90 degrees of revolution. The working air is moved from the cold space to the hot space. And the pressure in the engine is increased.

and the same level of performance as the car's standard internal combustion engine. back in the 1970's. 30% better mileage. That is an incredibly high percentage! 1. spent millions of dollars developing Stirling engines for cars. A special thanks to Koichi Hirata for the excellent illustrations! 1. Q: Are Stirling engines really the most efficient engines possible? A: In the mid 1800's a very bright Frenchman named Sadi Carnot figured out the maximum efficiency possible with any heat engine. Suddenly there was no compelling reason to build an engine that was substantially more efficient than internal combustion engines. Stirling engines (with perfect regeneration) match this cycle.). In spite of these limitations. Real Stirling engines can reach 50 percent of the maximum theoretical value. Ford. The two piston type Stirling engine then repeats this cycle. The engine gets its power during this portion of its cycle. It was equipped with an experimental Stirling engine powerplant called the "P-40". Then oil prices came down in the 1980's. and people started to buy bigger cars. the two pistons both move the lower part accepting the air pressure. there is not one thing in the world anyone can do to make one start instantly. COOLING The crankshaft revolves by power stored in the flywheel for the next 90 degrees. It is a formula like this (Temperature of the hot side . While it's very easy to build a Stirling engine that will stop instantly. When I get in my car I want it to start immediately (if not sooner) and be able to burn rubber off the tires as I leave the parking lot! Stirling engines can't do that. Here is a picture of a 1979 AMC Spirit. CONTRACTION The two pistons are moved to upper part by the contraction of the air during the next 90 degrees.EXPANSION During the next 90 degrees of revolution. The Spirit was capable of burning gasoline. but wouldn't start instantly. The engine also gets power during this portion of its cycle. why don't I have one in my car? A: The best answer for that is to pick the MM-1 engine up after it gets up to speed. The air is moved from the hot space to the cold space. And the pressure in the engine is decreased. Of course the temperatures must be measured in degrees Kelvin or Rankine. Q: If Stirling engines are so efficient. diesel. The P-40 Stirling engine promised less pollution. [From "An Introduction to Stirling Engines"] The French Research Sub Saga is Stirling engine powered. Notice that it keeps running for a minute or so. The hot piston moves to the lower part and the cold piston moves to the upper part. or gasohol. Ford even built a Stirling that could drive away from the curb (with relatively low power) twenty seconds after you turned the start key! Many prototypes were built and tested. Stirling engines also work exceptionally well as auxiliary power generators/heaters on yachts (see Victron Energy. and American Motors Corp.Temperature of the cold side)/Temp of hot side x 100 equals the max theoretical efficiency. where their silence is valued . GM.

Stirling engines won't lose as much power as they climb as do either piston engines or jets. They would also work very well in airplanes where the air gets colder as the plane climbs to altitude. Stirling coolers have been made that will cool below 10 degrees Kelvin. 1. 3. I don't think there is a theoretical upper limit on power in a Stirling engine. In fact. manufacturing processes. In other words to put out any significant amount of power an engine running on small temperature differences would have to be physically very large. If you are going to build an engine that puts out a significant amount of power you will probably want to build the heater head out of at least a good grade of stainless steel and perhaps a more exotic metal like Inconnel or Hasteloy. There are Stirling engines in Submarines.and good cooling water is available. Click on the images to learn more about these organizations and the engines they produce. by connecting an electric motor. but if you put mechanical work in. The place where metals are critical is in the hot side of the engine. Stirling engines have come a long way from the large and heavy engines of the 19th century. you get mechanical work out. and Stirling engines in classrooms. This page contains a handful of links to some of these companies. there are many companies developing Stirling devices for niche markets. A good general guideline is that if the hot side of the engine is not at least 500 deg. The bigger the temperature difference the easier it is to get power out of a small engine. There is no aircraft power plant (jets included) that gets any improvement in any operating conditions from climbing. C) the engine will be too bulky for the amount of power it puts out. the cold end will get extremely cold. Modern Stirling Engine Development Today. It's not obvious but a Stirling engine is a reversible device. Q: What are Stirling engines being used for today? A: The modern uses of Stirling engines are invisible to almost everyone. There have been many research engines built in recent years but there are only three areas where Stirling engines have made a dramatic impact. F. theory and analysis methods. If you design the machine correctly. 2. Micro Stirling coolers have been produced in large numbers for cooling infrared chips down to 80 degrees Kelvin for use in night vision devices. Also wouldn't you like to have silent airplanes with very efficient engines that also have exceedingly low vibration levels? 1. (260 deg. stirling machines used as cryocoolers. such as cogeneration units and power generation using alternative fuels. If you heat one end and cool the other. 1. thanks to advancements in materials. one end will get hot and the other end will get cold. . Cryogenics is the science of things that are exceedingly cold and Stirling engines are one tool that can be used to make things exceedingly cold.

All images and information related to these devices are property of and are assumed to be copyrighted b their respective owners. cooler and regenerator. Inc. Infinia Corporation NASA Glenn Research Center Tamin Enterprises The Stirling Engine's most basic configuration consists of two pistons each in its own cylinder. Note that between these two pistons heads are the heater. (Sometimes it is easier to envision these two cylinders as one long tube with the piston heads facing each other inside the tube (see the figure below)). STM Corporation SOLO Kleinmotoren GmbH Stirling Energy Systems. Inc. The regenerator (usually a block of woven wire) is in the center of this tube and the heater is between the regenerator and one piston (in red) while the cooler is between the regenerator and the other piston (in Blue). The volume . Kockums Sweden. Sunpower.

The Compression Piston is also moving away from the regenerator while the Expansion piston comes toward the regenerator moving the gas through the regenerator into the compression space without compressing the gas. At this point the . The working gas trapped between the two piston heads is pushed by the Compression Piston through the regenerator where it is heated by the energy in the regenerator heated to its hottest in the Heater and expands in the Expansion Space. Graphic courtesy of Dr. to which both pistons are connected (but 90 degrees apart).attached to the 'heater' is the 'expansion space' where the hot gas pushes against the 'expansion piston'. The volume attached to the 'cooler' is the 'compression space'. regenerator). cooler. Stirling Engine operation can be explained in a non technical way that applies to many but not to all engines that may be called Striling Engines. The regenerator is where the excess heat of the gas is stored in the regenerator matrix on the way to the compression space from the expansion space and then the heat is recovered on the way back from the compression space to the expansion space. The mechanism also pushes the Compression Piston further toward the Regenerator pushing all the gas out of the Compression Space in to the gas circuit (heater. This continues until all the gas that will expand has been pushed into the heater area and expanded. Then the mechanism. Israel Urieli of Ohio University. begins to move the Expansion piston back the other way pushing the hot gas through the Heater backwards and then on to the Regenerator and finally into the Cooler where it begins to Cool and contract (the pressure starts to drop). The linkage continues to move the pistons until the Compression Piston is all the way back and the Expansion piston is all the way forward. This increased pressure pushes on the Expansion Piston so that it moves away from the regenerator pushing on a mechanism which changes the linear movement of the piston to a rotary motion.

meaning the cycle is closed. the Stirling Engine can be used as a heat pump in much the same way as traditional refrigeration units. The flow of the working fluid is controlled by changes in the volume of the hot and cold spaces. In a Stirling engine. This enables a Stirling Engine to operate cleanly and quietly as there are no combustion products coming into . creating mechanical energy. Stirling Engineering (Technical Explanation) First Approximation of the power of a Stirling Engine (kinematic or free piston) Power = (Beale. and rejected in the 'cold' end to the environment. The pistons are arranged such that they create both a change in volume of the working fluid and create a net flow of the fluid through the heat exchangers. heat exchangers.) will produce an output of heat energy.) This brings us to the first line of this explanation to complete the cycle and begin again. which takes in 'fresh air' for each new cycle. only without the environmentally harmful refrigerants. but some more advanced engines may use Nitrogen. In this manner. The Stirling Engine is reversible. etc.number) x (pressure(mean)) x (Volume Exp) x (frequency) Watts = 0. Helium or Hydrogen. eliminating the need for valves.mechanical arrangement moves the pistons together but because of the way the piston moves up and down in the cylinder and the mechanism is moving in a circle. for example) will produce an output of mechanical energy.116 x Pascals(10E-6) x (Cm^3) x (Hz) A Stirling "Air" Engine is a mechanical device which operates on a closed regenerative thermodynamic cycle with cyclic compression and expansion of the working fluid (air) at different temperature levels. The engine is filled with a working fluid (gas) which is commonly Air. the working fluid is completely contained inside the engine at all times. the Expansion Piston does not move very far but the Compression Piston moves toward the regenerator actually compressing the gas and begining to push the gas through the regenerator. meaning that an input of heat energy (burning fuel. (That is why it is called the Compression Piston. and an input of mechanical energy (electric motor. As opposed to a typical gasoline engine. The most basic engine consists of a set of pistons. In this manner. heat is absorbed from an external source in the 'hot' end. and a device called a 'regenerator'.

Both Beta and Gamma engines use displacer-piston arrangements. Stirling Engines . the Beta engine having both the displacer and the piston in an in-line cylinder system. and re-heats the fluid as it enters the 'cold' end. Alpha engines have two pistons in separate cylinders which are connected in series by a heater.Mechanical Configurations The mechanical configurations of Stirling engines are generally divided into three groups known as the Alpha. The regenerator is such a critical component that most Stirling Engines cannot operate efficiently without one! Stirling Engineering ( Deeper understanding) This link is a much deeper look into the theory. On the most basic level. . whilst the Gamma engine uses separate cylinders. however suffers from the disadvantage that both pistons need to have seals to contain the working gas. partial differential equations and thus requires a knowledge of the calculus. Ohio has been developing small air engines with extremely innovative Alpha designs. Israel Urieli of Ohio University. including the classical Ross-Yoke drive and more recently a balanced "Rocker-V" mechanism. An important feature in Stirling Engines is the regenerator. Andy Ross of Columbus.contact with any of the engine's working components and no release of high-pressure gasses. and Gamma arrangements. Click Here for a look at the Detailed Theory of Operation. Caution: Contains calculus. as shown below. The Alpha engine is conceptually the simplest Stirling engine configuration. a regenerator is a device that absorbs heat from the working fluid as it enters the 'hot' end. and better performance overall. This internal recycling of energy allows for much higher efficiencies. Beta. This information is from Dr. Also contains source code modules for a second order simulator (In 'C'). regenerator and cooler.

The pistons are typically driven by a swashplate.The Alpha engine can also be compounded into a compact multiple cylinder configuration. . regenerator and cooler. so that the expansion space of one cylinder is connected to the compression space of the adjacent cylinder via a series connected heater. resulting in a pure sinusoidal reciprocating motion having a 90 degree phase difference between the adjacent pistons. A schematic diagram of this configuration is shown below. Notice that the four cylinders are interconnected. enabling an extremely high specific power output. as is required of an automotive engine.

as well as an animated model of Stirling's engine is clearly shown in an interesting website by Bob Sier.Beta Type Stirling Engines The Beta configuration is the classic Stirling engine configuration and has enjoyed popularity from its inception until today. whose purpose is to "displace" the working gas at constant volume. . and shuttle it between the expansion and the compression spaces through the series arrangement cooler. and heater. Stirling's original engine from his patent drawing of 1816 shows a Beta arrangement. Another important early Beta engine is Lehmann's machine on which Gusav Schmidt did the first reasonable analysis of Stirling engines in 1871. From the figure we see that unlike the Alpha machine. regenerator. the Beta engine has a single power piston and a displacer. the original patent drawing. A photograph of Robert Stirling.

External Power is a very recent licencee of Sunpower. Thus they tend to have somewhat larger dead (or unswept) volumes than either the Alpha or Beta engines. derived his famous vibrationless rhombic drive for Beta engines in the early 1960s. allowing the entire system to be hermatically sealed. and was formed to manufacture biomass fueled (sawdust pellets) free-piston cogeneration units for home use. This allows a convenient complete separation between the heat exchangers associated with the displacer cylinder and the compression and expansion work space associated with the piston. and uses a bell crank mechanism to obtain the correct displacer phasing. apart from being significantly more efficient than regular vapor-compression refrigerators. similar to Beta machines. These systems. He later formed the company Sunpower. which now includes four R&D and manufacturing companies as well as one internationally recognized consultant in the area of Stirling cycle computer analysis. Stirling Technology Inc. Ohio into a hotbed of Stirling cycle machine activity.. Probably the most ingenious Stirling engines yet devised are the free-piston engines invented and developed by William Beale at Ohio University in the late 1960s. which has been the leader in the development of free-piston Stirling engines and cryocoolers to this day. Sunpower have recently begun to manufacture Stirling cycle croygenic coolers for liquifying oxygen. Holland. and was formed in order to continue the development and manufacture of the 5 kW ST-5 Air engine. Global Cooling is a licencee of Sunpower. Over the years Sunpower has transformed Athens. however in different cylinders. This large Beta type engine burns biomass fuel (such as sawdust pellets or rice husks) and can function as a cogeneration unit in rural areas. is a spinoff of Sunpower. mainly in order to develop free-piston Stirling cycle coolers for home refrigerator applications. Gamma Type Stirling Engines Gamma type engines have a displacer and power piston. Inc. portable units using helium as the working fluid (and not the Ozone destroying CFCs). The main aspect of the free piston machine is that the output power can be obtained through a linear alternator. . All of Sunpower's engines are Beta arrangements and employ no mechanical linkage system. have the addad advantage of being compact.Rolf Meijer of Philips. It is not a free-piston engine.

The first attempt at an analysis of the cycle was published in 1871 by Gustav Schmidt. . This is unfortunately mainly because the Schmidt analysis yields a closed form solution rather than its ability to predict the real cycle.Furthermore during the expansion process some of the expansion must take place in the compression space leading to a reduction of specific power. Because of the convenience of two cylinders in which only the piston has to be sealed. the gamma configuration is a favorite among modellers and hobbyists. however we use it as a starting point to guide us ultimately to a more realistic approach. Ideal Isothermal Analysis The invention of the Stirling engine in 1826 was well in advance of all pertinent scientific knowledge of that time. the cycle described by Schmidt has become the classic ideal Stirling cycle. Much as the Otto cycle has become the classic Air standard cycle to describe the spark ignition engine. Gamma engines are therefor used when the advantages of having separate cylinders outweigh the specific power disadvantage.

The engine is considered as a five component serially connected model. The assumption of isothermal working spaces and heat exchangers implies that the heat exchangers (including the regenerator) are perfectly effective. absolute temperature T. Each component is considered as a homogeneous entity or cell. The principal assumption of the analysis is that the gas in the expansion space and the heater is at the constant upper source temperature and the gas in the compression space and the cooler is at the constant lower sink temperature. To obtain closed form solutions. the gas therein being represented by its instantaneous mass m. k. This expression may then be used to investigate how different drive mechanisms affect the output power.Consider the Ideal Isothermal model of a Stirling engine as shown below. with the suffix c. h. This isothermal assumption makes it possible to generate a simple expression for the working gas pressure as a function of the volume variations. cooler k. consisting respectively of a compression space c. volume V and pressure p. heater h and expansion space e. thus: M = mc + mk + mr + mh + me Substituting the ideal gas law given by m=pV/RT we obtain . and e identifying the specific cell. Schmidt assumed that the volumes of the working spaces vary sinusoidally. regenerator r. with a spacial temperature distribution as indicated in the figure above. The starting point of the analysis is that the total mass of gas in the machine is constant. r.

The work done by the system over a complete cycle is given respectively by the cyclic integral of p dV On evaluating the heat transferred over a complete cycle to the various cells we find remarkably that the cyclic heat transferred to all three heat exchanger cells is zero! Thus: Qc = Wc Qe = We Qk = 0 Qh = 0 Qr = 0 This rather startling result implies that all the heat exchangers in the ideal Stirling engine are redundant since all the external heat transfer occurs across the boundaries of the compression and expansion spaces. This will be resolved when we consider the Ideal Adiabatic model in the next section. Obviously this cannot be correct. In real machines the compression and expansion spaces will tend to be adiabatic rather than isothermal. which implies that the net heat transferred over the cycle must be provided by the heat exchangers.M = p (Vc / Tk + Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th + Ve / Th) / R For the assumed linear temperature in the regenerator we can show that the effective regenerator temperature Tr is given by Tr = (Th .Tk) / ln(Th / Tk) Thus given the volume variations Vc and Ve we can solve the above equation for pressure p as a function of Vc and Ve. This apparent paradox is a direct result of the definition of the Ideal Isothermal model in which the compression and expansion spaces are maintained at the respective cooler and heater temperatures. since the cylinder walls are not designed for heat transfer. .

thus the above equation set can be solved by numerical integration. The Schmidt Analysis In the previous section we derived the basic set of equations which describe the Ideal Isothermal model.The set of pertinent equations is shown in the following table. One of the case studies of this course is the Ross Yoke-drive engine for which we have analized the volume variations. Consider the following diagram showing the volume variations of the compression and expansion spaces (Vc and Ve) over a single cycle. as shown in the following table. In order to solve these equations we need to specify the working space volume variations Vc and Ve as well as the respective volume derivatives dVc and dVe with respect to crankangle . Gustav Schmidt of the German Polytechnic Institute of Prague Published an analysis in 1871 in which he obtained closed form solutions of these equations for the special case of sinusoidal volume variations of the working spaces with respect to the cycle angle . We continue now with the Schmidt analysis. In 1871 Gustav Schmidt published an analysis in which he obtained closed form solutions for the above equation set for the special case of sinusoidal volume variations. Notice the phase advance angle of the expansion space volume variation with respect to the compression space volume variation: .

Substituting for Vc and Ve in the pressure equation above and simplifying we obtain In order to simplify the pressure equation we now consider a trigonometric substitution of and c as defined by the following right-angled triangle .The sinusoidal volume variations of the compression and expansion spaces are respectively as follows: Vc = Vclc + Vswc (1 + cos ) / 2 Ve = Vcle + Vswe (1 + cos( + )) / 2 where Vcl and Vsw represent respectively clearence and swept volumes. and is the cycle angle.

this reduces to This equation is the most convenient way of relating the total mass of working gas in the cycle to the more conveniently specified mean operating pressure. .Substituting for and c in the pressure equation above and simplifying where = + b=c/s The maximum and minimum values of pressure can now be evaluated for the extreme values of cos The average pressure over the cycle is given by From tables of integrals.

which implies that the net . Adam Hilger 1984. since the cylinder walls are not designed for heat transfer. Obviously this cannot be correct. All the required heat transfer occurred across the boundaries of the isothermal working spaces.The net work done by the engine is the sum of the work done by the compression and expansion spaces. This led to the paradoxical situation that neither the heater nor the cooler contributed any net heat transfer over the cycle and hence were redundant. In real machines the working spaces will tend to be adiabatic rather than isothermal. Finally we obtain Ideal Adiabatic Analysis In the previous section we considered an ideal Stirling engine model in which the compression and expansion spaces were maintained at the respective cooler and heater temperatures. "Stirling Cycle Machine Analysis". however the relevant appendix in this book that deals with the Schmidt analysis has been placed on the web by Global Cooling. The book itself is out of print. and can be downloaded in Acrobat pdf format. Over a complete cycle W = Wc + We The volume derivatives are obtained by differentiating Vc and Ve above Substituting these and the pressure equation into the equations for Wc and We The solution of these integrals requires the judicious use of tables of integrals and is done in the book by Urieli & Berchowitz.

Thus the enthalpies flowing across the interfaces ck and he carry the respective adjacent upstream cell temperatures. but vary over the cycle in accordance with the adiabatic compression and expansion occurring in the working spaces. e) representing the five cells. he) representing the four interfaces between the cells. kr. the Ideal Adiabatic model. and a double suffix (ck. Enthalpy is transported across the interfaces in terms of a mass flow rate m' and an upstream temperature T. hence . rh. k. The arrows on the interfaces represent the positive direction of flow. h. As before the engine is configured as a five component serially connected model having perfectly effective heat exchangers (including the regenerator) and in this respect is similar to the Ideal Isothermal model defined previously. arbitrarily defined from the compression space to the expansion space. r.heat transferred over the cycle must be provided by the heat exchangers. Thus we have a single suffix (c. Notice from the temperature distribution diagram that the temperature in the compression and expansion spaces (Tc and Te) are not constant. in which no heat is transferred to the surroundings. In the following diagram we define the Ideal Adiabatic model nomenclature. We thus consider an alternative ideal model for Stirling cycle engines. However both the compression and expansion spaces are adiabatic.

The resulting equations are linked by applying the continuity equation across the entire system. This equation is the well known classical form of the energy equation for non steady flow in which kinetic and potential energy terms have been neglected. The word statement of the energy equation for the working gas in the generalised cell is Mathematically. Work W is done on the surroundings by virtue of the varying volumes of the working spaces Vc and Ve. The regenerator is externally adiabatic. thus for example dm refers to the mass derivative dm/d . hence p is not suffixed and represents the instantaneous pressure throughout the system. the total mass of gas M in the system is constant. and heat Qk and Qh is transferred from the external environment to the working gas in the cooler and heater cells.temperatures Tck and The are conditional on the direction of flow and are defined algorithmically as follows: if mck' > 0 then Tck = Tc else Tck = Tk if mhe' > 0 then The = Th else The = Te In the ideal model there is no gas leakage. . respectively. Consider first the energy equation applied to a generalised cell which may either be reduced to a working space cell or a heat exchanger cell. Enthalpy is transported into the cell by means of mass flow mi' and temperature Ti. heat Qr being transferred internally from the regemerator matrix to the gas flowing through the regenerator void volume Vr. and there is no pressure drop. The derivative operator is denoted by d. this word statement becomes dQ + (cp Ti mi' .cp To mo') = dW + cv d(m T) where cp and cv are the specific heat capacities of the gas at constant pressure and constant volume respectively. Development of the equation set The general approach for deriving the equation set is to apply the equations of energy and state to each of the cells. and out of the cell by means of mass flow mo' and temperature To. where is the cycle angle.

the differential form of the equation of state reduces to dm / m = dp / p dm = dp m / p = (dp / R) V / T Substituting in the mass equation above dmc + dme + (dp / R) (Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th) = 0 We wish to eliminate dmc and dme in the above equation so as to obtain an explicit equation in dp. This is a reasonable assumption for Stirling engines since the working gas processes are far removed from the gas critical point.We assume that the working gas is ideal. thus: mc + mk + mr + mh + me = M Substituting for the mass in each cell from the ideal gas law above p (Vc / Tc + Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th + Ve / Te) / R = M where for the assumed linear temperature profile in the regenerator the mean effective temperature Tr is equal to the log mean temperature difference Tr = (Th . The equation of state for each cell is presented in both its standard and differential form as follows pV=mRT dP / p + dV / V = dm / m + dT / T The starting point of the analysis is that the total mass of gas in the machine is constant. since the respective volumes and temperatures are constant. Solving the above equation for pressure p = M R /(Vc / Tc + Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th + Ve / Te) Differentiating the equation for mass above dmc + dmk + dmr + dmh + dme = 0 For all the heat exchanger cells.Tk) / ln(Th / Tk). Applying the above energy equation to this space we obtain -cp Tck mck' = dWc + cv d(mc Tc) . Consider the adiabatic compression space (dQc = 0).

Tkr mkr') dQr = Vr dp cv / R . and the work donw dWc is given by p dVc.From continuity considerations the rate of accumulation of gas dmc is equal to the mass inflow of gas given by -mck'.dmc / mc) dTe = Te (dp / p + dVe / Ve . and simplifying dmc = (p dVc + Vc dp / ) / (R Tck) Similarly for the expansion space dme = (p dVe + Ve dp / ) / (R The) Substituting for dmc and dme above and simplifying From the differential form of the equation of state above we obtain relations dTc and dTe dTc = Tc (dp / p + dVc / Vc . thus cp Tck dmc = p dVc + cv d(mc Tc) Substituting the ideal gas relations p Vc = mc R Tc.cv = R. Finally the work done in the compression and expansion cells is given by W = Wc + We dW = dWc + dWe dWc = p dVc dWe = p dVe .Trh mrh') dQh = Vh dp cv / R . Tkr = Tk and Trh = Th.cp To mo') = cv T dm = V dp cv / R Thus for the three heat exchanger cells we obtain dQk = Vk dp cv / R . T constant) and substituting for the equation of state for a heat exchanger cell (dm = dp m / p = (dp / R) V / T) dQ + (cp Ti mi' .The mhe') We note that since the heat exchangers are isothermal and the regenerator is ideal. and cp / cv = .dme / me) Applying the energy equation above to each of the heat exchanger cells (dW = 0. cp .cp (Tck mck' .cp (Trh mrh' .cp (Tkr mkr' .

we would like to evaluate the heat transfer and flow-friction effects of the three heat exchangers on the performance of the engine. We find that effective heat exchange comes at a price of increased flow friction. Almost all of this vast body of work is based on steady flow conditions and is thus not directly applicable to the oscillating flow conditions that apply to Stirling engines. and rejected by the working fluid to the external heat sink in the cooler section. and we find that we can only rely on the plethora of documented experimental and empirical studies ( e. cyclicly stored and recovered in the regenerator. In this section we adopt a "Quasi-Steady Flow" approach. The variables were evaluated based on the previous list of design parameters: . Kays & London . we began by modifying an existing Stirling engine that was developed by Ted Boyl-Davis. All of this is done in compact heat exchangers (large wetted area to void volume ratio) so as to limit the "dead space" an acceptable value and thus allow for a reasonable specific power output of the engine. This loss refers to the mechanical power required to "pump" the working fluid through the heat exchangers.Stirling Engine Simple Analysis Once we have done an Ideal Adiabatic analysis on a specific Stirling engine. a graduate student at the University of Idaho.g. Heat is transferred from the external heat source to the working fluid in the heater section. and thus reducing the net power output of the engine. resulting in the so-called "pumping loss". Forced convection heat transfer is fundamental to Stirling engine operation. Design Process To establish a starting point for designing the Idaho Stirling Engine."Compact Heat Exchangers"). At this stage there is still a major controversy about this approach. The only alternative for design is the recent "Similarity and Scaling" approach which has been developed by Allan Organ and is presented in his book "The Regenerator and the Stirling Engine". in that we assume that at each instant of the cycle the fluid behaves as though it is in steady flow. and we need to treat the results of this analysis with a healthy measure of scepticism. This will enable us to do a parametric sensitivity analysis as required for design optimization. Variables The following independent design variables were manipulated during the iterative design process of the ISE and empirically evaluated. The theory and analysis of these effects is extremely complex. Thus we have called this analysis a "Simple" analysis because it is a gross simplification of an extremely complex process.

100. 150 or 200 W bulbs) Diaphragm material (balloon vs. Glass/Pyrex) Use of Insulation Size of energy source (50. split displacer Base design for energy source (can vs.No. plaster/putty) Use of brass bushings Seal for pressurized container (rubber band vs. jar lid) Assembling drawing . inner-tube rubber) Ice water bath or air-cooling fins Solid vs.· · · · · · · · · · Type of energy source (Incandescent vs. Halogen light bulb) Type of pressurized container (Tin vs.1 .

2 .No.1: Cylinder Cover 2: Heater 3: Flywheel 4: Crank Disk 5: Piston Holder 6: Cylinder 7: Hot Piston 8: Cold Piston 9: Joint Board 10: Frame 11: Base 12: Shaft 13: Connecting Rod 14: Bush 15: Gasket 16: Gasket Assembling drawing .

Suggestions to assemble the engine .

then I think that the length of the displacer piston must be decided two or three times of the stroke. C: Fix a connecting rod (No.24) and a nut (No.7.11) with double nut type. I explain about a heat conduction loss caused by the length of the displacer . E: Fix the bolts (No. B: Fix between a piston holder (No.4) using double nut type.8) with a quick drying glue.23) to a flywheel (No. Ueno A44: The length of the displacer piston must be decided by the type of the heatsource and the structure of heat transfer parts.5) and a piston (No.6) with a silicone gulue.22) to a base (No.23).3) and a crank disk (No. Your engine has a longer stroke. F: Fix bolts (No. The displacer piston bore of my engine is 42 mm. The engine is used hot water asthe heat source and have air cooling. Q44: I am building a displacer type Stirling engine. 30mm. 21 May.A: Seal and fix between a cylinder cover (No. 1997 T.13) to a piston holder (No.1) and a cylinder (No. D: Cut a top of a bolt (No. I don't know how many size is the length of the displacer piston.5) with a bolt (No.26) to move light. and the stroke is 30mm.

Stirling Cycle Engine "Vintage" is a 90 degree engine with a horizontal displacer cylinder and a verticle power cylinder. you see the better size of the length of displacer piston and cylinder.cylinder. Qcond=R(Twh-Twc)(A/L) R: Heat conduction ratio of cylinder wall (W/m2K) Twh: Temperature of hot side cylinder wall Twc: Temperature of cold side cylinder wall A: Section area of displacer cylinder L: Length of displacer cylinder In this equation. Qcond (W) is calculated by next equation. "Vintage" . Connecting rods for both cylinders us a single crank . The heat conduction loss.

5" "Vintage" Engine Plans Set . Vintage runs very easily on a tiny 1/4" diameter by 1/4" high alcohol or propane gas flame.pin. etc! The plans include the entire engine as shown including 2 different water pumps and piping. but that is not needed in any way .7" Engine Length: 6. As such. The plans set consists of 16 sheets of drawings and 2 sheets of construction and assembly notes. Most of the brass parts were nickel plated. This powers the Miser while the Miser becomes the cooling "radiator" for Vintage! Just about any other simple radiator can be used such as a 10 foot loop of vinyl aquarium air line tubing.00 Post Paid in the USA (Use the Project Plans Order Form to place an order) HTF (Hard-to-Find) Materials Kit Contents of kit: (1) 5/8" diameter x 1-1/2" long graphite rod to make piston (1) 3/8" diameter x 1-1/2" long delrin rod for crosshead (1) 1/4" diameter x 2" long delrin rod for bushing & small rod ends . An optional curved spoke zinc alloy flywheel casting shown on the above engine photos is available below. The sole exception is a straight spoke flywheel machined from solid which is similar to the one on the "Vickie" engine.5" Piston Stroke: .just cosmetics to suit me! Vintage was designed to be a power source for the Miser engine.$18.: 3. a heater ring to operate a Miser engine and an alcohol burner (not shown). Specifications: Flywheel Dia.25" Height: 4. most of the rest of the engine is machined from brass or stainless steel bar stock.33" Cylinder Bore: . This makes for easy construction and interesting rod motion. The engine frame (blue) is made from aluminum plate. it is water cooled and a belt powered water pump circulates the warm water through a ring that Miser sits on and back through the engine again.

(2) .$18.Victorian Stirling Cycle Engine .125" thick precision ball bearings (1) 4-40 x 1/8" socket head set screw (1) 4-40 x 1/4" socket head set screw (2) 2-56 x 1/4" stainless steel panhead screws (20) 2-56 x 1/4" stainless steel socket head screws "Vintage" HTF Materials Kit .187" ID x .375" OD x .00 post paid in the USA (Use the Kits & Parts Order Form to place an order) "Vickie" .

Vickie is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful stirling engines ever designed.500" x .$18. carburetor. I hope that you'll agree too! She is a true heirloom engine which will surely be handed down from generation to generation. ignition system or boilers and they run almost ghostly silent.250" x .187" thick ball bearings .4" long graphite for piston (2) .00 Post Paid in the USA (Use the Project Plans Order Form to place an order) Graphite & Ball Bearings Kit (1) 5/8" dia.: 4-5/8" Cylinder Bore: . Vickie is powered by an attractive horizontal brass alcohol burner which sports an integral fuel level sight glass. Properly made. A belt driven brass cooling fan competes with the rod and crosshead action for attention. they will run flawlessly every time a source of heat is applied! "Vickie" is a stirling cycle engine of modified Heinrici type with elegant victorian styling designed for pleasing looks as was applied to 18th and 19th century engines and machines. The plans set consists of 16 sheets of drawings and 3 sheets of construction and assembly notes. Three fluted columnar legs and two stylish crossheads of differing style blend perfectly with the curved and angular lines of the engine frames. x 1.Stirling engines have no valves.600 Piston Stroke: 1" Overall Length: 10" "Vickie" Engine Plans Set . The engine is primarily made of aluminum with accents of polished brass and stainless steel and trimmed in dark green and maroon paint. Specifications: Flywheel Dia.

This really does help. I machine my hot caps from solid rod. but will be greatly hindered traveling the length of the tube. The heat will only slightly be hindered going through the thin wall. This eliminates the welding or brazing and I can make the ID any size I want. It is a fair conductor of heat as metals go .that is. This creates a narrow waist just below the flange.050" thick.025" to . I leave the bottom and part of the side wall from . An example would be that fewer cars can cross a single lane bridge at a given speed than can cross a bridge having say 4 lanes at the same given speed. To minimize the conduction to the displacer I greatly reduce the thickness of the upper portion of the wall.$14.00 post paid in the USA (Use the Kits & Parts Order Form to place an order) Stirling Engine Heat Absorbers (Hot Cap) The heat input area of a stirling engine is generally called the "hot cap" or "hot end" of the engine. we want to do what we can to prevent heat from conducting directly to the cool end without doing any work for us. The length of the waist is from 1/3 to 1/2 of the length of the hot cap. it is a poorer conductor than brass or aluminum and most other common metals. As the engine operates due to the temperature difference between the hot end or hot cap and the cool end or displacer cylinder of the engine. mild steel has been the most widely used material in model engines. I make a plug . Thin wall tubing is usually selected to make the hot cap.001" smaller than the inside diameter of the hot cap is to be and as long as the hot cap is . Right about here you might be thinking that if we use a metal that is a poor heat conductor then we won't get much heat to the inside of the hot cap. The number of lanes equals the thickness of the hot cap wall. Before beginning to machine a hot cap. Historically. A top flange is welded or brazed to the tube for mounting to the displacer cylinder and a thin plug is similarly attached to close the bottom end. I use stainless steel because it is not as good a conductor as other common metals. To further minimize conduction of heat toward the displacer cylinder the wall is made as thin as practical. In electrical terms that would be called a "short circuit". The material used to make the hot cap must conduct heat through the wall to the air inside the engine while at the same time conducting a minimum of heat to the cooler (displacer cylinder) area of the engine.

If you can get titanium at a reasonable price. Mechanical Tightness or Binding . Even a small amount of tightness or binding will rob much more power than you would expect. use it because you will like it too. One end is drilled for a center and the other end is chamfered. Better a little loose that too tight.750" can be a little smaller than that and pistons smaller than .600" should be a little larger than that. Because of that if they are to run properly. I insert the plug and bring up the tail stock center as a support. The plug also prevents the wall from collapsing from the force of the cutting tool. My "Beamer" and "Vintage" engines have titanium hot caps and they are the coolest running flame powered engines I have .0005" of the cylinder diameter. Pistons over .The cylinder must be true and straight. Power Piston . Since it is not much different to machine than stainless steel and the fact that it is beginning to become readily available. the mechanical aspects must not rob power. I don't try to get thinner than this as I want to leave some metal for strength to survive bumps etc. Use a truly sharp tool bit with a small radius at the tip (around . I routinely produce hot caps with walls at the waist as thin as . The correct fit is when the piston will fall through the cylinder of it's own weight.! Titanium is even a poorer heat conductor than stainless steel. or at all. as the cylinder above.deep inside. After the hot cap is bored and turned on the outside. If there is any tightness or binding it must be tracked down and corrected. but when the piston is pushed into the cylinder with the bottom closed it feels like there is a spring under it. The closer to a mirror finish the better.010"). Both cylinder and piston must be clean. Take lighter cuts as the wall gets thinner and use fine feeds. dry and absolutely oil free.the hot cap flange and displacer cylinders runs at LESS than luke warm.The piston must also be true with no taper. but before the waist is machined. no taper. I have been experimenting with it for hot caps and I like it. It is a better hot cap material. bell mouth or barrel shapes allowed! If it was accurately machined with a nice surface finish then all that is needed is a nice polish. The graphite piston must be within .Model stirling engines produce little power. .006". Power Cylinder . Now it is possible to reduce the waist to a very thin wall without danger of distorting or otherwise ruining the work. etc.

Low temperature "Miser" type engines should have non pourus foam displacers and are exempt from this test. If your engine is of sound basic design and it passes all the above tests it will be nearly impossible for it NOT to run! One last caveat . there is an air leak somewhere that must be found and corrected.Displacer Timing .be careful not to use too large a flame to operate your engine as small models can easily be damaged by overheating. there should not be any other air leaks. If it exhibits no compression and all else above is well.If the engine is a "Miser" or other low temperature difference engine. the displacer movement should be 1/4 crankshaft revolution (90 degrees) ahead of the power piston ie crank pin to crank pin. Miser should NEVER be operated over any flame. With compression relieved by loosening or removing the bottom plate. If the engine is unbalanced. It must be a sealed air tight can. gradually enlarge or plug the balance disk holes as needed. An alcohol or propane flame of 1/4" diameter and around 1/2" high (or less) will easily operate any of my engine designs. adjust the balance disk so that the engine will stop at random places when given a spin.Other than minute leakage around the piston and displacer rod bushing. If the engine can't be balanced. If you put it in the freezer and get it very cold and then submerge it into near boiling hot water it should not show any bubbles coming from it. balance is important.For all practical purposes. it will require more heat and operate at a higher RPM than it would if balanced. Air Leakage . When given a spin. Engine Balance . This is not critical and can vary a few degrees one way or the other. Don't overlook the displacer itself. . the engine should exibit some compression by coming to a stop at about the 3:00 o'clock or 9:00 o'clock power piston crankpin positions (vertical engine example). Not all engines will be at optimum performance at 90 degrees but it is the best test setting for a new engine.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful