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Stirling Engine Community
Funny how just as I want to find a Stirling community, one has just… 
8th-Jun-2006 08:19 am
Funny how just as I want to find a Stirling community, one has just been founded. :D Anyhow, never mind that. Introductions! I'm another interested Stirling observer, a network engineering student located in Australia.

Riddle me this: Why is it that heatpipes, with their superior heat-transfer characteristics, are never mentioned in conjunction with Stirling engines? They seem an excellent method of removing heat from (or injecting it into) a Stirling. Is there something I'm missing here?
8th-Jun-2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
Howdy! Welcome. Thanks for joining!

Your question intrigues me, but it's above my pay grade. I'm familiar with heat pipes, but I'm not exactly sure how that might affect the geometry of the thermodynamics and all. You're the engineering student, I guess, you should like look into it and shit. I mean, it's a question I'd like to give some thought to. But not right now. A quick Googling brings up a lot of pages with both stirlings and heat pipes, but evidently in mostly a categorical-umbrella sort of way. So I don't know man. It's certainly worth looking into. But there's a lot in the materials science of these newfangled stirlings that are over my head. Remember it is materials engineering that held back stirling development for a long time, and now with these new engines, like the SES ones, it's all super high pressure and shit, I mean, I don't know what kind of engineering limitations that imposes. No idea.

Your icon also intrigues me. In addition to being a fan of stirlings, I am also a fan of Wankels, and I've often thought about the rotary stirling (which seems to be something of a holy grail among the amateur stirling crowd). Your icon reminds me of the sort of ideas I've been kicking around in my head for awhile now, but I've been too lazy to actually draw one out like that, all animated and shit. Is this icon of yours based on an actual stirling design, or a plan for one? Do you think it could be built?
9th-Jun-2006 01:14 am (UTC)
Haha, I'm a computer networking engineer, sorry, not a physical one. :D (Much as I wish I was!)

Materials science held back a lot of ideas that have been kicking around for a century or more. It's exciting to be around to see all these incredibly ingenious ideas finally come to fruition. My dad can regale you with tales of internal combustion engines and the ideas that were thought up in the 20s, but just couldn't be put into action because the metals of the time couldn't support it. Did you know there were steam cars that weighed several tons, which were competitive efficiency-wise with the ICE cars of the time? Makes you wonder what could be done with the plastics and alloys we use in cars today. I believe there's a comapny over in Europe doing just that, but I'll have to look around...

The icon is taken and modified from Trochilic Engines' website. From what I've read there, it sounds like they've come up with an elegant solution to the question of a rotary mechanism. I think it could be built...the only question mark in my mind is the rotating 'gear cage', and whether it can hold up under the stresses it has to endure for an acceptable lifetime.
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