Stirling-Engine in a Novel Alphagamma Configuration – A Key for Maintenance-Free Operation
Frauscher, J; Diermaier, F; Brandt, H-J; Gschwendtner, M
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Since 2001, Frauscher Thermal Motors have been conducting research in the field of thermodynamic machines, in particular Stirling engines of various types. One important development step is the invention of a Stirling engine in an alphagamma® configuration. In this configuration, the expansion piston is designed as a differential piston with its ring surface connected to the cold volume. In this paper, the design advantages of the alphagamma® configuration in comparison with a traditional alpha configuration are shown analytically by using a polytropic model as a modification of the ideal adiabatic analysis. The findings were confirmed by also simulating the proposed alphagamma® configuration in a Sage model which was validated against experimental data with very good agreement. The results of both methods show that the counter-productive compression work can be reduced to almost zero – which makes the compression piston a displacer and explains the name alphagamma® – with the expansion work also reduced for the same net work output. As a consequence, the forces on the pistons, and thus, on the bearings can be significantly reduced, also leading to smaller piston side-loads, less friction and wear. The combination of all advantages allows the design of a mechanically sound and inexpensive machine.