Introduction: Stirling Engine

Picture of Stirling Engine

Dedicated to all those wise and illustrious deans and students.


The Stirling engine is a heat engine with low noise and toxic emissions, this engine can use any external power source coming to have zero emissions when using solar energy. In the near future, these applications are likely to have engines, reaching even replace the current internal combustion engines in some industrial applications.
During the investigation a historical overview of the Stirling engine is the principle of operation of the engine basics of thermodynamics says. The various configurations of these engines are also mentioned, and the thermodynamic cycle of this is explained. It also discusses the design and construction of the beta type Stirling engine. The purpose of this study is to provide the basis for the design and construction of a Stirling engine as well as an incentive to anyone interested in further research.


In 1816, Scotsman Robert Stirling patented an engine that ran on hot air, which he called Stirling. The patent for this engine was the successful end of a series of attempts to simplify the steam engines, considered it impractical heat water in a boiler to produce steam expand in an engine, condense and by introducing water pump again in the boiler, so decided to develop a new system that performs the same processes but in simplest form.

Throughout history, people have created various machines that appeared in the industrial revolution to help man in more efficient industrial processes and this has caused a rise in demand for fossil fuels, because the world is in an environmental crisis , we have to see how to replace the way we work with conventional methods of burning fossil fuels. Stirling engine in the same processes of heating and cooling of a gas a steam engine, but all within the motor and the gas was air instead of steam, so that the engine does not need boiler are conducted.. Finally, although it was much simpler and efficient (at least in theory) than a classic steam engine, Stirling engines were never well known and its application in the real world was not over, as internal combustion engines replaced them.

Step 1: ​Operating Stirling Engine

Picture of ​Operating Stirling Engine

The Stirling engine operation is based on the use of volumetric changes of the working fluid as a result of changes in temperature that this affected. These volumetric changes are due to the displacement of working fluid between the hot zone and the cold zone in a closed cylinder.

1. If air is enclosed in a cylinder and then heated, it is observed that the pressure within the cylinder increases. It is assumed that one of the covers of the cylinder is a piston and this is tight, there will be an expansion of gas and increase the volume inside the cylinder until some final position of the plunger.

2. If the same cylinder in its expanded state is quenched pressure decreases, then the volume is contracted and the piston position returns to the initial state.

3. If the process from state 1 is repeated, but now joining the piston to a crankshaft and in turn a wheel, the increased pressure will force the piston move causing the crankshaft and this at the wheel too, with this achieved that the volumetric change is transformed into motion.

4. When the process from state 2 is repeated, the piston return cooling rapidly by movement of the wheel and occurs the pressure decrease and volume.

5. If the processes 3 and 4 meet is a single cylinder engine displacer movement will occur due to expansion of the gas during compression and the piston return to its position due to the energy of the flywheel.

With this principle of operation of the Stirling engine are explained.

Step 2: Overview of the Components

Picture of Overview of the Components

Hot Zone

This part of the engine where heat is delivered, the materials used for construction must be resistant materials CREEP (creep deformation is plastic-type material that can undergo when subjected to elevated temperature)

Cold zone

where heat is extracted. Heat extraction may be performed by free or forced convection. In this case be placed aluminum fins to quickly dissipate heat, because this type of cooling is inefficient decided to use materials of high thermal conductivity in the cold zone, materials such as copper and aluminum. This is a very important part of the engine, because it must be able to evacuate at least 50% of the heat supplied to the engine, and it must do so at the lowest possible temperature to improve the thermal efficiency of the engine.


The regenerator absorbs and gives off heat to the working fluid offsetting some of the heat lost by the engine, causing the engine power and speed increase, this is because when you work the regenerator needs to absorb less heat per cycle, which makes the cycle time required to perform less and less fuel is also consumed. Regenerator material must have a high capacity to store thermal energy for its temperature is stable. Should also have a low thermal conductivity in the direction of flow, to generate a temperature gradient. The volumetric heat capacity of a material is measured with the product ρ x Cp (J / m3 * K), the higher the value the material can absorb more heat. The regenerator operates to the next way, assuming that the gas in the hot zone is 150 ° C and the cold zone to 30 ° C, when the gas passes from the cold zone to the hot zone, an ideal regenerator temperature rise gas at 60 ° C therefore has to deliver heater least amount of heat to raise the gas temperature 60 to 150 ° C, in the same way, when the gas passes from the hot zone to the cold zone heat absorbed by the regenerative gas would in the cold zone to 60 ° C so it will have to cool slightly to spend 60 to 30 ° C. This assures in both cases reducing the time of heating and cooling the gas which develops faster cycle.

Step 3: Stirling Engine Thermodynamic Study

Picture of Stirling Engine Thermodynamic Study

First is the state 1. The elements are: cylinder, piston, fluid displacer. All the gas is in the cold zone, and the piston is in the lower position.

• Process 1-2.- When the piston moves from state 1 to 2 an isometric compression is performed at the lowest temperature. The process is represented in the previous pressure volume diagram. Work consumed in this process is equal to the heat rejected in the cycle.

• Process 2-3.- If remains fixed piston and displacer moves, is passed around the fluid into the hot zone, obtaining an isometric process that increases the pressure without changing the volume. Here the regenerator delivers heat to the working fluid, raising its temperature Tmin to Tmax.

• Process 3-4.- Right now you can get an isometric expansion at the higher temperature by lowering the piston and displacer. In this process, external heat is supplied to the working fluid.

• Process 4-1.- Moving the slider to the initial state, another isometric finalize the process represented by the thermodynamic cycle process 1-4 will be obtained. Here the regenerator absorbs heat.

With this the ideal Stirling cycle has the same efficiency as the Carnot cycle, which is the maximum efficiency that can reach a heat engine considering that all losses are zero. The Carnot cycle processes used isotropic, non-regenerative heat exchange processes, assuming that the specific heat of the regenerator is infinitely large, as the Stirling cycle. Because there is no mechanism to make the ideal movement of the piston and displacer for completion of the cycle and the difficulty of obtaining purely isothermal cycles due to the mechanisms of heat transfer associated with the speed with which it is intended to make the cycle, power and efficiency is lost, the end result is an ellipse shaped cycle.

General outline of a Stirling engine

TR is the temperature of the heat source, TO is the sump temperature, TH is the temperature of the surface in contact with the working fluid in the hot zone, TC is the temperature of the surface in contact with the working fluid in the cold zone.

Step 4: Construction

Picture of Construction

Well, basically I designed this engine in solidworks and made drawing for after give this drawing to the center machining.

You need solidworks software if you want manipulate the ensemble, I use 2013 version.

The materials I bought was in standard measure, so I adapted to metric.

The position 3 say "join with silver weld" but I had problems because the copper do not resist the high temperature as well as stainless. The solution to this problem I made position 3.1 and 3.3 more big in the diameter ø23.3 for enter in pressure with position 3.2. another solution is modific the drawing make thread to this positions but need increase the diameter extern to the cylinder and dissipators. (positions 3, 4 and 5). Or make all position 3 with stainless in one piece.

Is extremely necessary the cylinder do not have air leakage because the engine works with this pressure. critical positions 3, 6 and 14.

when you assemble parts be careful to alignments from the positions 20 (vertical) and 30 (horizontal) another way the engine have problems with positions 2, 6 and 8.

Do not despair if the engine do not work in the first time, because this need adjustments and some oil for pieces in moving, I made many attempts for it work.

I spend a lot of time searching in the internet for some drawings but I did not find, many people sell these planes on the internet and only show machines running so I decided to share these planes, I hope you serve these drawings.

If write bad please correct, I'm from mexico and not very well write in English. And if you have any questions you can ask.

-Actualización acerca de dudas sobre el rendimiento-

En la pagina 2 del documento de Word "Estudio Termico" viene --La definición de rendimiento para una máquina térmica es n=W(neto) / Qabsorvido este valor es de 0 a 1 por que se supone que la energía que suministras al motor es la que transforma y si es 1 quiere decir que pudiste transformar toda la energía calorífica en mecánica, después al final de la hoja dice --En la medida que el funcionamiento del regenerador se acerca al caso ideal, el rendimiento del ciclo se aproxima al del ciclo de Carnot-- que es n=(1-(Tf / Tc) este numero nos dice que el rendimiento también es igual a la resta de 1 entre la division de la temperatura en la zona fría (Tf) entre la temperatura en la zona caliente (Tc), el ejemplo se encuentra en el vídeo cuando tomo la temperatura del motor cuando esta funcionando (ver el video "Stirling Engine en funcionamiento" al minuto 1:20) las temperaturas son Tc= 188.7 °C y Tf=27.8 °C entonces tenemos que nuestro rendimiento de la maquina es de


RizaldyH (author)2016-10-13

Hi, could i know your calculation of this engine?

if ok, you could send to my email

jRamonGalindo (author)RizaldyH2016-10-25

Hi, I made it for myself and design also. but I was searching in many side of the internet and I find Sterling Engine Blueprint ( and studied this and I made it better. I dont use calculations just I design this in solidworks, use logic and common sense, sorry for the delay, I hope I've helped, I´m student, I don´t know how use calculations still :D

RizaldyH (author)jRamonGalindo2016-10-26

thanks for your information,
I also as a student, I want to create it too.
Maybe this blueprint could help me to create it.
Warm regards

andrermdhani made it! (author)2016-06-17

Dear jRamonGalindo,

how do you make the stirling engine design ? using calculations like what? or use the basic theory of what? i try to make this stirling but dont work.

Please could you me send the thermodynamics relation because I can't download it from the link above ?

this my email :

Please help me.

Thank you

I added pictures of my stirling

I sent at your email the theory, please check and comment.

Hi, can you send it to me too. im first year college student and im very exited to built this as my final project later.

here's my email :

Please help me.

Thanks you

Another thing, the position 6 has three Viton o-rings becouse it resists temperature and plays an important role in position 3, should be snug but that move with force of gravity. I struggled with that because the adjustment of machining is very delicate!

Sure that the position 12 is not weighing more than 250 grams, positions 16, 17 and 18 need to be made of brass, this helps the mechanism move freely without any hindrance, if you rotate the position 12, the mechanism must move without force. It is extremely necessary the cylinder is not leaking air because the engine works with this pressure, critical positions are 3, 6 and 14. In assembling the pieces be careful alignments positions otherwise the engine has problems, needs to be well oiled (Roshfrans B.A.T. -3) between positions 14 and 6 this prevents the air chamber escape. Check the video temperature at which the engine works. Also verified that position 2 and 6 is not crashing. Do not despair if the engine does not work the first time, because this need for adjustments and be lubricated on all parties with movement. (Castrol GTX sae 25 w-60 946 ml or similar). Everything is about the weight and friction, you need to find the combination, you can feel it.

Bill WW (author)2016-05-01

Muy bueno, amigo.

El mio es el "Two candle powered" motor

Voy a esudiarlo mas.

Lo siento por mi Castellano.

jRamonGalindo (author)Bill WW2016-05-02

I like yours too. :D

arturo72 (author)2016-04-08

Hola en los planos que subiste hay unos barrenos M3, M6... ¿esas son medidas estándares? Saludos

jRamonGalindo (author)arturo722016-04-16

Si, son barrenos roscados

Robot Boy (author)2016-02-28

Here is a engine I made from 3d printed parts and syringes. Not my design but it does work.

Marty_Moose (author)Robot Boy2016-02-28

Awesome, how do you keep the syringe from melting?

Robot Boy (author)Marty_Moose2016-02-28

They are made of glass!

loudefrog (author)2015-11-14

For people trying to get more power from their little engines they should look at William Skinner 1939 gravity engine. It can be found on Youtube. His machine is an energy multiplier or over unity engine. In simple form a small power source drives the top of a sloping rod in a circle and a large weight attached to the underside of the rod twists the rod so weight stays on the underside. Output is 1000 times input which makes all the other free energy devices look pretty pathetic. Small electric motor can drive large generator. I have made a video but unable to move the thing from my Google drive share thing. If interested I can send from

astrong0 (author)loudefrog2016-02-28

I'm sorry sir but that is incorrect. Perpetual energy devices are impossible.

owenbrau (author)loudefrog2016-01-10

Perpetual motion machines, free energy devices,, they are all FRAUDS. Skinner's device doesn't increase power.

AbdulrahmanA16 (author)2015-10-23

hi there i almost know every piece and how they work but can't understand what are these 9 or 10 cylindrical circles making

anyway appreciate your work and i finally found a real help

I don´t know what do you mean with "these 9 or 10 cylindrical circles making" what is the position?.

sierra-torino27 (author)2015-10-18

Dear jRamon Galindo,

my e-mail is Thanks for your answer.

done :), check your email.

sierra-torino27 (author)2015-10-15

Dear jRamonGalindo,

my best compliments for your exellent work !

Please could you me send the thermodynamics relation because I can't download it from the link above ?

Thank you


which is the mail?

sierra-torino27 (author)2015-10-15

Dear jRamonGalindo,

my best compliments for your exellent work !

Please could you me send the thermodynamics relation because I can't download it from the link above ?

Thank you


T0BY (author)2015-06-23

Goodness me, this looks like a museum piece!

andrermdhani (author)2015-04-10

I was confused at the picture you put , where is the power piston?

what do you mean?

popofito (author)2015-03-01

no puedo descargar los archivos rar, ... me los podrias enviar a mi correo?


jRamonGalindo (author)popofito2015-03-21

listo :D

Gfallen (author)2015-03-18

hi, I just came across an ad about a solar stirling generator. What's your take on this. Real or a Scam?

jRamonGalindo (author)Gfallen2015-03-21

I think it is real, anything that can increase the temperature of the hot zone of the engine.

rimar2000 (author)2014-11-24

I think the Stirling engine is not valued enough. It is considered a "low power" motor, but that's because they've never made one that allows a large temperature difference between the cold and hot zone. At the end of the day, even combustion engines operate on the basis of hot air. If anyone dared to make a Stirling that could withstand temperatures of 1000 °C or more, you could get a lot of power. A HUGE advantage of external combustion engines is that you can feed them with any fuel: wood, paper, trash, etc.

Impeccable build, your engine, congratulations.

pallc (author)rimar20002014-11-28

rimar2000... I've also considered higher pressure operations. So, not only higher temperature or higher temperature difference from hot to cold ends... higher pressure in general operation from environmental conditions. This led me to brainstorm practical applications of say installing power generation stations on the Mariana trench or deep ocean volcanic areas or just deep ocean areas if nuclear powered. You would need a modular system that would be like a submarine vessel to move as the ocean floor changed if geothermal powered. Therefore, the sterling system would be very practical at higher pressures in the deep ocean. I personally feel the whole nuclear power generation systems would benefit from conserving water also if using sterling engine type systems instead of turbines. You wouldn't need to waste so much water on steam loss into the air. Especially fresh water since that is what is wasted into the air as well as potentially contaminated. The heat would be converted into mechanical energy using the working fluid (helium and hydrogen mixture seems most practical) versus lost into the steam, waste water and air. I also think the nuclear power systems should be modularized in groups of submarine cells or pens so that if there was a melt down... the whole pen could be encased by having a holding cell of radiation absorbent cement above that would mix and fall directly on the pen to encase the module so no leakage or environmental impact if melt down. These ideas really aggravate me for not being considered in practical application as I am the only person that I've read that has come up with these practical applications of geothermal, deep ocean or modularized underwater safely encased nuclear power station. Awesome job Mr. Galindo and thanks for sharing! Here are some links also for reading: and

rimar2000 (author)pallc2014-11-29

Yes, pallc, greater pressure equals greater chamber, or greater volume of gas.

I am doing a stirling motor but encounter some obstacles, like the adhesives that don't support high temperatures.

Bryans9 (author)rimar20002015-03-01

Check with Masterbond. They produce industrial adhesives for industry and aerospace, and don't require commercial volumes for purchasing from them.

I have seen solar concentrator versions which I feel deserve deep experimenting with. These could also be installed in large quantities to existing solar collector arrays to extract residual heat from the tail end of the collection cycle.

I also notice that there seems to be no enhancement of cooling air across the radiating fins. Could a flue type setup not be used to create an updraft from the generating heat to also draw hot air away from the cooling fins?

With the proliferation of PV systems, small voltage inverters have been developed that could segway into this field too and allow banks of these to produce AC power.

Lots of options for this technology.


pallc (author)Bryans92015-03-02

Right, really concerns me the lack of investment in waste heat recovery in a variety of systems. First off; closed Brayton cycles or Sterling or Ericsson cycle systems instead of the existing systems in nuclear power plants. I would think just from the waste of freshwater going into the air. Now, if saltwater being desalinized and going into the jet stream... well, maybe that would be more favorable. Another is the NSA Utah Center and others super computing centers that waste freshwater for cooling application. These systems, since designed by highly intelligent (you'd think at least) groups, can have their heat recycled and translated into energy that can be used for work somewhere instead of polluting the fresh water source. PV or whatever thermo to whatever electric system. I may be nit picking, though seems flue gases being burnt off at gas/oil wells or processing facilities could be translated into useful applications versus just being burnt off.

In regards to the flue type set up for existing systems... depends which existing systems being referred to. Say the Sandia designs would have to factor in loss of solar energy from the heat exchange pipe blocking the reflector. Other designs, yeah... seems correct. Fun with certain "free" energy systems and size of implements. :-|) I've always laughed how huge some implements have to be in order to be feasible. Yeah, though, definitely could make a flue design feasible espicially if you could get creative with guide/guy wires and really tall designs.

The main thing is, low clearance jobs can be created, a healthier environment from people working and a safer environment because people are busy doing not premeditated injurious or deadly acts. I'd rather see accidents happen that some officers club plans implemented for their military, intel and foreign service public and private industrial complex. These Stirling or whatever thermodynamic engine cycle systems seem obvious choices along with solar photovoltaic systems since smaller scale. Since some systems like the huge heat pipes that heat the greenhouse like surface area and transfer the heat up a pipe that goes higher up into the jet stream are implemented... why not try a gravity generator with levers, springs, axles, sprockets/gears, pulleys, weights and maybe just human or animal power? They'd be huge, however the systems work for clocks and watches... why not electric power creation. Plus would give people something to do to keep busy. Suppose isn't crony enough though.

pallc (author)rimar20002014-11-30

Yes, materials science still has room for opportunities for advancement. That or the government should declassify compounds they don't have declassified yet. Have you looked into high temperature silicon products like "permatex ultra copper maximum" or maybe even combining refractory materials like "zirconia ultra hi-temp ceramic adhesive" with permatex? The permatex mentioned goes up to 700 degrees F and the ceramic material up to 4000 degrees F. As a chemist I would be concerned with mixing and chemical reactions at high temp and potentially at low (though not with the refractory materials)... however if just performing deductive experiments (trial and error)... why not just mix and test to see how perform. I do feel there has to be ways to improve the silicons temperature performance. Maybe there is just not a requirement for high volume or main stream consumer use... so not produced. I don't think this article ( ) adhesive is better than the permatex mentioned, however may help with sparking creativity. I found this when looking for aero gel adhesives. Maybe can make an aerogel seal/bond?

rimar2000 (author)pallc2014-12-01

Pallc, since you're a chemist, I'll tell you something that happened to me many years ago, maybe in the early 1980s. My mother was using a "pava" (kettle) that leaked under the spout. I fixed it with silicone sealant Fastix, which was in the market since few years ago. This sealant was –and still is– difficult to match with the fingers, so it was a hanging thread of three or four millimeters I could not remove. I thought that once dried and placed on the stove, the fire would be responsible for burning, but to my surprise, silicone WAS HEATED TO RED, and after cooling continued to have the same properties of initial elasticity. But two or three years ago I discovered with sadness that this amazing heat resistance has disappeared of the product many years ago. I spoke at length by phone with a factory engineer, but the guy was very new and had no idea of the history of the product. There is currently a High Temperature Fastix, who barely resist a few degrees more than the common, does not have anywhere near the strength of the 1980s.

I have copper dust, do you think mixing it with silicone I could get a stronger sealant? I will try it.

Thanks for your suggestions. I live in Argentina, here the market is very small, it is difficult to get some materials.

pallc (author)rimar20002014-12-01

rimar2000, I can't find the patent for the permatex ultra copper online. I did find the MSDS ( ) and that does not list copper. I did notice some formulas changed due to the older formulas corroding the metals. Not sure if the corrosion issue is the reason or not. Maybe the 1980's material was to good for the consumer and new product sales were lost in home repairs. I am guessing that the silicone materials are what are able to withstand the high temp. In other RTV silicone patents the iron oxide is a catalyst. Maybe the silica in the formula increases the temp resistance. I am a "biochemist" by training, with undergrad research in organic synthesis and real world experience in metals, food and drug analytical chemistry. Therefore, I really don't know much about polymer chemistry or even polymer material science. From what I can tell, the copper will not help the material. I would suggest refractory materials mixed in the silicon like silica, alumina, zirconium or other high temperature more inert ceramic materials. Seems amorphous forms would insulate and reflect heat better than crystalline forms. Metals seems like they could reflect heat also, though to me seem like would react to degrade unless like more inert metals such as gold or platinum. Seems a ceramic would reflect the heat better than a metal and be more inert to chemical reactions. Like amorphous silica or aero gel material would be the best. Can you get online and order U.S. products into Argentina like on Ebay or autoparts stores? Ebay usually has the best prices since most competitive.

KeithW1 (author)pallc2015-03-02

A little off topic but since you have experience with metals and chemistry could you possibly help with a situation we have at work where we chemically etch stainless steel grades 410SS and 630SS lets say 630SS for this application where we print a UV ink resist then use a Ferric Chloride etchant (Fe2Cl3 I believe) this allows us to achieve a very even and consistent removal of material. OUR PROBLEM IS removing the Carbon film from the steel (and acid for that matter) that is there after our etching process and seems to immediately stain the steel with a graphite/charcoal looking stain. Any idea how to chemically break this down or any advice for removing the carbon from the surface without mechanically buffing this film off? Any advice would help as we are using very expensive filters in the acid to help keep the bath as active as possible before the carbon content gets too high and we have to dump the whole bath! Thanks again in advance!

pallc (author)KeithW12015-03-02

I haven't played around with etching since etching electronic boards back in a former life. :-|) Wow, 20 years ago now that I think about that. With similar a Ferric Chloride etchant if I recall correct. Anyhow, I found a link that seems to summarize a range of options that may be favorable for your application. Interesting reading regarding the subject since I found a Stanford paper that noted their etching being performed under an argon environment and they concluded the carbon and oxygen must be coming in from the HCl or HFl batch. Check out this link and see if this gives you any ideas. I am not sure without further reading regarding the subject and environmental variables in exhaustive detail (usually more than the suppliers know from my experience).

rimar2000 (author)pallc2014-12-02

Thanks for your opinion, pallc. I did not think about the chemical properties of copper but its thermal conductivity. My ignorance about the matter is total. From Argentina, and while Cristina Kirchner be president, I can not buy anything to the rest of the world. This is a "democratic tyranny": I could make only one buy each year, for 25 U$S or less. To buy more than that, I should be registered as an importer, paying the processing (step?) and possibly waiting several months to be approved, and facing severe government audits.

pallc (author)rimar20002014-12-02

Thank you rimar2000 and others for firing my neurons, inputting, processing and outputting memories, making memory associations and getting me thinking about the external combustion engine systems.

You to are thinking so don't feel so ignorant. We just need to refresh or input more information that is pertinent to the system we are engineering and dreaming about to set goals and accomplish the mission objectives to see the dream a reality and implemented feasibly. Is there a high temperature automotive gasket material that is equivalent to permatex ultra high temp RTV in Argentina?

These links are not the best for listing materials of the system: and

However, your comment regarding thermal conductivity and the links got me to thinking about reading somewhere years ago about using cylinders, pistons and heat exchanger from ruby or graphite. These materials would increase or at least maintain the difference in temperature of the hot and cold sides of the system by being able to exchange and not "store" the "heat" after the engine system has started and warmed up.

rimar2000 (author)pallc2014-11-29

Yes, pallc, greater pressure equals greater chamber, or greater volume of gas.

I am doing a stirling motor but encounter some obstacles, like the adhesives that don't support high temperatures.

woodNfish (author)rimar20002014-11-25

They are considered low power because that is what they are, rimar. Internal combustion engines (IC) do not operate on hot air, they operate on expansive force of ignited gasses - huge difference. At 1000C you have to be concerned about the melting temperature of the materials you are using. Steel softens at that temperature. So you'd have much larger cooling issues. The reason we are not using Sterling engines is because they have not proved to be practical. IC engines are inexpensive, powerful, and the fuel for them is plentiful and cheap.

efahrenholz (author)woodNfish2014-11-29

Stirling engines don't need high temperatures to be effective. There's no reason to find the hottest source of energy and the metal that can withstand it. What is necessary is a large temperature difference. A Stirling engine could operate in sub freezing temperatures, with nothing more than a candle heating it. As long as the temperature difference is available, the gasses will expand.

rimar2000 (author)efahrenholz2014-11-30

Yes, efahrenholz, it is as you say in three first paragraphs.

But whatever the average operating temperature, a candle WILL NOT PROVIDE enough energy to make it work with power. One thing is efficiency, provided by the engine itself, and another is power, which comes out exclusively from the heat source.

efahrenholz (author)rimar20002014-11-30

Heat isn't the energy source in a Stirling engine. It's gas expanding and compressing from a temperature differential. If one end of the working chamber was exposed to sub zero temperatures, the gas would be compressed. A simple candle flame on the other end would cause a massive amount of expansion. Again, compression and expansion of the gas is what moves the piston and regenerator. The vacuum seal and flywheel also govern how much work the engine can do, as long as you provide the temperature difference.

Don't think of energy as heat. Heat is a sensation. It doesn't have to be hot to work. It just needs a wide difference to each side.

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