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Energies 2018, 11(3), 584;

Stirling Engine Configuration Selection

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Civil Mechanical E521, 20 Kirkwood Ave, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Electrical Power and Energy System)
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Unlike internal combustion engines, Stirling engines can be designed to work with many drive mechanisms based on the three primary configurations, alpha, beta and gamma. Hundreds of different combinations of configuration and mechanical drives have been proposed. Few succeed beyond prototypes. A reason for poor success is the use of inappropriate configuration and drive mechanisms, which leads to low power to weight ratio and reduced economic viability. The large number of options, the lack of an objective comparison method, and the absence of a selection criteria force designers to make random choices. In this article, the pressure—volume diagrams and compression ratios of machines of equal dimensions, using the main (alpha, beta and gamma) crank based configurations as well as rhombic drive and Ross yoke mechanisms, are obtained. The existence of a direct relation between the optimum compression ratio and the temperature ratio is derived from the ideal Stirling cycle, and the usability of an empirical low temperature difference compression ratio equation for high temperature difference applications is tested using experimental data. It is shown that each machine has a different compression ratio, making it more or less suitable for a specific application, depending on the temperature difference reachable. View Full-Text
Keywords: Stirling engine configuration; compression ratio; West equation; Kolin compression ratio; Schmidt theory; multi body dynamics Stirling engine configuration; compression ratio; West equation; Kolin compression ratio; Schmidt theory; multi body dynamics

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Egas, J.; Clucas, D.M. Stirling Engine Configuration Selection. Energies 2018, 11, 584.

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