The Air Engine book cover

The Air Engine

Stirling Cycle Power for a Sustainable Future

Two centuries after the original invention, the Stirling engine is now a commercial reality as the core component of domestic CHP (combined heat and power) - a technology offering substantial savings in raw energy utilization relative to centralized power generation. The threat of climate change requires a net reduction in hydrocarbon consumption and in emissions of 'greenhouse' gases whilst sustaining economic growth. Development of technologies such as CHP addresses both these needs.

Meeting the challenge involves addressing a range of issues: a long-standing mismatch between inherently favourable internal efficiency and wasteful external heating provision; a dearth of heat transfer and flow data appropriate to the task of first-principles design; the limited rpm capability when operating with air (and nitrogen) as working fluid. All of these matters are explored in depth in The air engine: Stirling cycle power for a sustainable future. The account includes previously unpublished insights into the personality and potential of two related regenerative prime movers - the pressure-wave and thermal-lag engines.

Mechanical engineers, professionals, and academics

Hardbound, 306 Pages

Published: August 2007

Imprint: Woodhead Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-84569-231-5


  • Part 1 A long overdue re-appraisal: The famous engine that never was; What Carnot efficiency? The counter-flow spiral heat exchanger - Spirex; A high-recovery-ratio combustion chamber. Part 2 Living with incompressible flow data: The regenerator problem brought down to size; The regenerative annulus and shuttle heat transfer; The rotating-displacer air engine; The strange case of the self-regulating air engine; Some light on the inner workings of the thermal lag engine. Part 3 Working with the reality of compressible flow: New correlations for old; Regenerator thermal analysis - un-finished business; Flow passage geometry; Beyond the performance envelope; For the sceptics. Part 4 Some design considerations: Scaling - and the neglected art of back-of-the-envelope calculation. 'How to make a business out of Stirling Engines today'.


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