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The workings of a Stirling engine

  1. Feb 13, 2012 #1
    Hi
    As a school project, I want to construct a Stirling engine (particularly this kind : http://monsterguide.net/how-to-build-a-stirling-engine [Broken]). The execution is quite simple, but I do not fully understand the theoretical background.
    Can someone give me an explanation?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2012 #2
  4. Feb 13, 2012 #3

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Put simply, the engine uses a heat source to make a cold gas (such as air) expand. Expanding gas does work on a piston. The piston then pushes the air to a heat sink where it is cooled. Then the cooled air is pushed back to the hot piston where it is compressed and heated again.

    See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine
    And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_engine
     
  5. Feb 13, 2012 #4

    AlephZero

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    Homework Helper

    The key point to understand is that there are actually two pistons, which operate out of phase with each other, moving like graphs of ##\sin t## and ##\cos t##.

    As the Wiki page shows, both pistons can be in one cylinder if you want, but it's probably mechanically simpler to have two cylinders.
     
  6. Feb 13, 2012 #5

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Ah yes, I had forgotten to mention the very important 2nd piston.
     
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