My First Working Stirling Engine

Introduction: My First Working Stirling Engine

This is my first working stirling engine, enjoy. All hail Instructables!!



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    35 Discussions

    wow that is learn more of it click to

    to make an electric motor, build an efficant sterling engine, make a HHO generator, make lots of HHO, catch it on fire, and power the engine with it. ELECTRIC MOTOR

    FLATULATIONS--Wonderful, Amazing, make me one capable of producing 25 Horsepower and we can rule the world. Stop reading this crap and go back to your workstation. You have no time to play. The entire population of this particular planet awaits your next production. (Hey, remember that we need 25 hp). Why? So it can be heated by a Solar Parabolic Collector. Run an alternator...produce the electricity to run the house and also produce the electricity to operate the Hydrogen Production Station in the backyard so we can fill-up our fuel-cell cars...and go to the movies. Show starts at 9...Hurry. Lovely...thanks.

    7 replies

    I think if you made one about the size of a 55 gallon drum you might get 1/2 hp out of it. More if the heat source was more substantial. You would probably need something the size of a garage to get 25hp. I had a scheme to turn my attic into a solar Stirling engine (I lived in SoCal 110° summers) but then we moved. Now that would be a cool instructable. Anyone have an empty attic in the Miami area?

    Hah, I actually did the design and layout of that book and I have designed several engines for! The thing about Stirling engines is that the power out is dependent on changing the temperature (and therefore the volume of) a sealed container of a gas. So if you have a relatively weak heat source like a small solar collector you need a huge engine to take the maximum advantage of heating (and expanding) a lot of air molecules a few degrees. If you have a stronger heat source like burning a huge volume of rice husks the engine can be smaller (although still huge compared to a 5hp gasoline engine) because you can heat a smaller number of air molecules much hotter so you can get more expansion out them.

    If you just made it higher pressure inside of a small one so that there is as much air to heat as in a large one, will you get as mush power as you would from a large one?

    The problem is transferring the heat to the working gas. Without high heat or a large transfer area you can't get much heat in or power out. Even if you have a powerful high temperature source another problem is that one side of the engine is very hot and the other is cold (the colder the better for high power). This temperature difference makes for a lot of thermal stress in the engine materials. Materials are one of the main problems of high temp Stirling engines.

    Many engines use the strategy of higher pressure to increase power, but the seals (and sometime auxiliary pump) necessary make it more complicated and expensive. Another strategy is to use helium or hydrogen as the working gas. Because those molecules are so small you can squeeze even more of them together, but making seals that can keep in these tiny molecules is hard.

    The engine in the book is actually pretty large (2 of them would more than fill a full size pickup bed), and runs at a fairly high temperature so they had a lot of problems with parts breaking. It is a worthwhile book if you are interested, with lots and lots of photos and several unique techniques like using explosives to form sheet metal parts.

    ive always been wondering if we could use a powerful, efficient laser to heat it, in which we would be able to charge the battery at the same time

    4 replies

    What you're thinking of is perpetual motion, which is impossible, because no one has ever made a 100 percent efficient machine because energy is always lost through friction and heat loss.

    true, but what about outer space. There is no air or any friction only cold. Thats why people cant use guns inspace, you shoot one way, you and the bullet fly opposite at half speed.

    Or you could make it as efficient as possible and use the sun to recharge it during the day.

    You can use anything you like to heat the stirling engine, hence why I like them so much.  However, recharging the laser power source (which I think is what you mean) off the engine is desirable, but unfortunately not possible (for continued running) :P Google 'overunity' and you'll see what I mean.

    Is it possible to use the temperature difference between our home and outside at night? We heat our home and consume electiricity, with a stirling engine we can took some of energy back, but I don't know it is logical or not...

    Or in a boat with a stirling which one end down in sea, other side of it under focussed solar energy? Its efficiency will be greater..