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Stirling Engine School Project Help!

  1. Oct 31, 2013 #1

    I need to generate electricity from this, how would I do so? I was thinking about placing magnets on the flywheel and using silver wiring as a conductor.

    This needs to power an RC cars electric motor so I can drive the thing and I have little to no experience with anything electrical. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

    My old physics teacher told me I couldn't do this and I aim to prove him wrong!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. What can you tell us about Stirling engines? What priciple do they operate on? What is their typical range of efficiency in converting heat to mechanical motion?

    What is going to be your source of heat? What are you going to use for a cool reservoir (how will you make the cold part?)?

    What power do you need to operate the RC car? What size Stirling engine will you need to produce that level of electrical power?
  4. Oct 31, 2013 #3
    Well I know Stirling Engines are external combustion engines. I don't know what principal they operate on or their typical range of efficiency.

    My heat source is a blow torch and I have no cool reservoir. I haven't needed one so I'm assuming the air conditioning in the room has been taking care of that part. But, to be honest, I don't know.

    I need to make electricity to power the RC if thats what you mean and I don't know what size stirling engine I will need to produce the correct level of electrical power.

    I'm sorry, I'm a freshman in college and this is my intro class and I've only ever taken intro courses so I'm fairly ignorant about all this. Thank you for your reply!
  5. Oct 31, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Well, those are the things you will need to figure out in order to make this project happen. That's all part of the learning process.

    You will definitely need to figure out how big of a Stirling engine you will need. So first, figure out what kind of power is needed to operate the RC car. You can look at the batteries used in the car to figure out how much energy they hold (how many Amp*hours are the batteries rated at, and what is their nominal voltage?). If you look at how long that energy lasts typically when driving the car (10 minutes? 30minutes?), then that will give you an idea of how much power is being consumed when the car is operating.

    Then you need to figure out how big the Stirling engine has to be, and how much heat energy you need to put in, in order to generate the power for the RC car. Once you do that, you will be able to connect a small generator to the output shaft of the Stirling engine to generate that electrical power. If making your own generator from scratch is a requirement of this project, then you need to do a fair bit of reading online about how to make an efficient electrical generator.
  6. Oct 31, 2013 #5


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    Gold Member

    Is the Sterling engine illustrated the one you are expected to use?
    If it is the model that I think it is, it is a demonstrator that has just enough power to run itself.
    That unit will be hard pressed to turn even a small generator.

    Your assignment has lots of challenges. Berkeman's checklist is a great starting point.
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