A TWO-STAGE STIRLING CRYOCOOLER DRIVEN BY OPPOSED PISTON LINEAR COMPRESSOR FOR SPACE APPLICATIONS.

V.K. Bhojwani1, M.D. Atrey1, K.G. Narayankhedkar2, S.L. Bapat1
1

Mechanical Engineering department, Indian Institute of Technology

Bombay, Powai, Mumbai – 400 076, India
2

Veermata Jeejabai Technology Institute, Matunga, Mumbai, India

ABSTRACT A two-stage, split Stirling cryocooler with a capacity of 2 W at 100 K and 0.5 W at 50 K is designed. A second order cyclic analysis is used to decide the final geometry of the unit. A compressor with an opposed piston configuration is developed. A flexure stack suspended piston and displacer are used. A moving coil linear motor is developed. Sensors are installed for measuring strokes of pistons and displacer; and pressure at the outlet of the compressor. A 10-channel oscilloscope provides the variations of parameters. The load tests indicated that the cooling capacity is close to the design values. The power input for the compressor is 110 W as compared to 69 W predicted by the analysis. The experimental no-load temperature for the first stage is observed to be close to the predicted temperature. Two identical expanders are developed to check the repeatability. For Expander I, the temperatures attained for a load of 3.33 W on Stage I and 0.95 W on Stage II are 106 K and 74 K, respectively, with a power input of 110 W. The corresponding values for Expander II are 128 K and 66.7 K, respectively, with a power input of 105.6 W. KEYWORDS: Two-stage Stirling cryocooler, Free piston free displacer, Stirling cycle INTRODUCTION Stirling cryocoolers, with BE INSERTED ON THE FIRST PAGE OF EACH CREDIT LINE (BELOW) TO low capacity requirements, have found immense applications for infra-red imaging in space due to valveless225 - 234, 277 -high COP.- FreePAPER EXCEPT FOR ARTICLES ON pp. 152 - 159, operation and 283, 284 piston, free-displacer arrangements with a motorized displacer -(linear 1467 - 1474, the 290, 685 - 692, 1083 - 1090, 1359 -1366, 1375 - 1382, 1383 1391, motor) make 1491 - 1498, 1499 - ideal choice for and 1629 - 1639 Stirling cryocoolers reliable and an 1506, 1507 - 1514, space applications. A two-stage
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CP985, Advances in Cryogenic Engineering: Transactions of the Cryogenic Engineering Conference—CEC, Vol. 53, edited by J. G. Weisend II © 2008 American Institute of Physics 978-0-7354-0504-2/08/$23.00

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Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115.184.40.50. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright; see http://proceedings.aip.org/about/rights_permissions

46 45. [1] was used to predict the geometry of the cryocooler.89 2. see http://proceedings. A split Stirling cryocooler has been developed.88 3.40. PV loss. Even though the requirement of the cryocooler is 2 W at Stage I and 0.92 3. Various losses viz. pressure variation.01 15 8. The respective losses are subtracted from the ideal refrigeration and added to the ideal input power to get the net refrigeration and net power input.5 mm 10 mm 3 mm 17 mm 50 mm 9 mm 25 mm TABLE 1 shows the effect of pressure on the performance of the cryocooler.143 3. W 12 6.54 2. The cryocooler was instrumented for the measurements of piston and displacer strokes.aip.496 W at Stage II at 50 K. TABLE 1 gives the performance predicted by the cyclic analysis for the operating conditions and geometric parameters given below: Operating frequency Diameter of the piston Stroke of the piston Stroke of the expander displacer Diameter of the displacer Stage I Length of the regenerator at Stage I Diameter of the displacer Stage II Length of the regenerator at Stage I 40 Hz 22.151 2.66 2.171 42.78 3.org/about/rights_permissions .5 W at 50 K at Stage II has been designed. Optimization of various geometric and operating parameters was carried out to achieve the desired objective. FIGURE 1 and FIGURE 2 give the cross-section of the opposed piston linear compressor and the two stage expander driven by linear motor. EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS Two almost identical expander units have been fabricated. bar Ideal RE (Stage– I). W Net Refrigerating effect (Stage-I). It can be observed that at pressures of 15 bar and higher.44 1. W Ideal RE (Stage– II). However. regenerator ineffectiveness.098 60. Linear motors with moving coil arrangement have been used for the opposed piston compressor as well as the displacer. The pistons and the displacer are suspended on two stacks of flexure bearings each. Result of cyclic simulation for various charge pressures Pressure.748 36.97 2. The output of all the sensors was fed to a high resolution 10-channel oscilloscope.02 40.82 679 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115.74 14 7. Cyclic analysis by Atrey et al.Stirling cryocooler with cooling capacities of 2 W at 100 K at Stage I and 0. TABLE 1. larger margin has been kept for Stage II. pumping loss and loss due to the pressure drop in various components. W Total power input. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright. the desired performance can be obtained. the performance of only one unit is discussed in this paper.496 69.151 W is desired at Stage I and 2. cooling capacity of the order of 3.5 W at Stage II. Due to variation of the heat capacity of the regenerator material at temperatures of the order of 50 K.058 2. loss due to heat conduction.264 2. shuttle heat transfer. The results are discussed below.8 2.50. temperature swing loss.59 34.83 74.184.41 66.18 2. W Ideal Power.2 13 7. W Net Refrigerating effect (Stage-II). and temperature measurements at both stages. and mechanical efficiency were calculated to determine the impact on refrigeration and power input.16 3.0 57.42 16 8.

org/about/rights_permissions .aip. Cross-section of the opposed piston linear compressor Two-stage displacer High vacuum pump High pressure gas from compressor Flexure stack 1 Linear motor Flexure stack 2 FIGURE 2. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright.40. Cross-section of the two-stage expander driven by a linear motor 680 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115.50.184.Pistons LVDT Flexure stack 2 Linear motor Flexure stack 1 delivery FIGURE 1. see http://proceedings.

1 K. Load characteristics of Stage I 681 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115. 97 2. 94 90 Heat load applied on stage I.5 4 0.5 1 1.83.33. However. Load Test – Stage II Next. It can be observed from FIGURE 3 that at a heat load of 2 W. The stroke of the compressor was measured as 7.83. The load characteristic of Stage I is almost a straight line.org/about/rights_permissions .50.Experimental results At a 16 bar charge pressure. When the heat load was increased to 3. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright. The results of this test are shown in FIGURE 4.33 W at Stage I. The power input to the compressor and expander was 118. a minimum temperature of 81. W 3.28 W respectively. 106 FIGURE 3.5 W at Stage II is 56. 100 3. Load Test – Stage I Stable temperatures of 94 K at Stage I and 45 K at Stage II were achieved when a heat load of 1.95 W was applied to the heater on Stage II. 103 100 95 1.aip. When an electrical heat load of 0.33.42 mm for the expander.33. these temperatures stabilized only at 86 K at Stage I and 45 K at Stage II. 110 105 Temperature of stage I. the Stage II temperature increased to 66 K. see http://proceedings.184.8 W and 3.33 W was applied on Stage I. heat load was applied to Stage II only. 86 2.15 mm and 2. a stable temperature of 98 K can be achieved at Stage I. K 2. the temperature reached 106 K at Stage I.5 2 2.5 3 Heat load applied on stage I. It can be seen that the temperature that can be achieved at a design heat load of 0.40. W 85 80 0 0. 98 1.5 K at Stage I and 43 K at Stage II were observed.

When the Stage II heat load was 0. W Stage I temp. W Stage II load.8 1 1.1 0.95 97 68 118.33 0. At this point. the temperatures attained at the first and the second stage were 91 K and 61. 66 0. TABLE 2.5.184.2 Heat load applied on stage II.4 0. W FIGURE 4 Load characteristics of Stage II 0.95 W and the Stage I heat load was 1.2 K at Stage II. see http://proceedings.33 0.8 1.95 94 66 118. 56. Optimized performance Experiments were conducted at 15.aip.8 1. 45 Load Test . the heat load was increased in steps of 0. Load characteristics of the two-stage cryocooler (loads applied to both stages) Stage I load. at a frequency of 39 Hz. respectively.8 2.37 mm.95.3 2.50.95 103 72 117. K Compressor power. No load temperatures achieved. were 80 K at Stage I and 46. with both the heaters active. W 0. the heat load on Stage I was increased as shown in the TABLE 2.95 106 74 116.org/about/rights_permissions .33 W and 0. K 60 55 50 45 40 0 0.40. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright.95 W were applied on Stage I and Stage II simultaneously.45. W 0 0 86 45 118.2 0.Heat load applied to both the stages simultaneously Initially the heat loads of 1.4 K.33 W. 16 and 17 bar and up to the limiting power of 120 W to the compressor and 3 W of power input to the expander with various mechanical phase shifts and frequencies.70 65 Temperature at stage II.95 100 70 117. 55 Heat load on stage II. The temperature for Stage II increased from 66 K to 74 K as a result of the change in heat load on Stage I. The same is marked in the FIGURE 5.4 3. displacer stroke of 2. K Stage II temp. mechanical phase difference of 76 degrees.98 mm and piston stroke of 10.83 0.5 W at Stage I and the temperature variation is shown in FIGURE 6.6 0.9 682 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115. The best results are given in TABLE 3 and FIGURE 6.33 0. After this.83 0. charge pressure of 15 bar.

33 0. This indicates that the safety factor for estimation of cooling capacity at Stage I turns out to be 3.33 0.95.83. 683 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115.02 W at 96 K at Stage I as compared to 2 W at 96 K observed experimentally at 15 bar..9 3.95 91 61.95.33. Load characteristics of the two-stage cryocooler (loads applied to both stages) Stage I load.95 103 68.33.95.2 118.5 W = 5.aip.50.83.02/2 = 1.526 W/ 0.05 results. 86 Stage II 0.4 119.83 0.4 COMPARISON OF THEORETICAL ESTIMATES WITH EXPERIMENTAL DATA The parameters corresponding to the experimentally optimized conditions were input as data in the cyclic analysis program and the cooling capacities were determined.8 117.5 117. 72 0. W Stage I temp. 100 0.5 3 3.526 W at 58 K as compared to 0.5 times whereas for Stage II a factor of 2.2 120. K Compressor power.4 2. 106 0. Similarly.5 2 2. 68 2. W FIGURE 5.7 118.120 100 80 60 0. The program estimated a cooling capacity of 3. 94 1.4 66.40. W TABLE 3. 74 Temperature. 70 2. Heat load applied on stage I. K Stage II temp.33 0. the estimated cooling capacity at Stage II from the analysis program is 2.95. 66 Effect of heat load at stage I on stage II temperature with fixed load of 0.9 2.5 Heat Load.33. W Heat load aplied on stage II. 97 0. 45 40 20 0 0 0. 103 3.95 W at stage II. W Stage II load. see http://proceedings.org/about/rights_permissions . W 0 0 80 46.95 95 63.95 108 70. Load characteristics for the two stages Stage I 1.5 1 1.4 1.184. This is an important conclusion for designing cryocoolers of 50 K temperature range using cyclic analysis.83 0.95. K 0. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright.0 1.95 98.5 W at 58 K observed experimentally.

83.120 100 1. it can be said that even though the cryocooler satisfies the full heat load requirement of Stage I. 2 W at Stage I and 0.83. 66.5 3 3.33. Thus. Cryogenics. 95 2. 68.4 2.2 40 Effect of heat load at stage I on stage II temperature with fixed load of 0. and Narayankhedkar K. S.. 684 Downloaded 11 Jan 2011 to 115.e. 108 Temperature. 91 0.. Load characteristics for the two stages under experimentally optimized conditions CONCLUSIONS The cryocooler provided a cooling capacity of 3. 98.8 0.5 1 1. 61. Atrey. see http://proceedings.4 60 0.33.95. 46.40.95. 341-347. respectively (interpolated values). 103 3.184. However. when the cryocooler was fully loaded (i.33. K 80 0. 80 1.50.5 0. W Heat load on stage II.aip. W FIGURE 6.95.33 W at 106 K for Stage I.2 0. 20 Heat load on stage I.org/about/rights_permissions . G. pp. Bangalore towards this work. (1990).5 2 2. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright.5 W at Stage II) the temperatures achieved were 96 K and 58 K at Stage I and Stage II.95.95 W at stage II. D. L. REFRENCES 1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors acknowledge the support received from ISAC. Indian Space Research Organization. W 0 0. Stage II still needs some modification by way of an increase in the second stage expansion volume.5 0 Heat load. 63. 70. M. Bapat.95. “Cyclic simulation of Stirling cryocoolers”.7 0. 29.