Stirling engines run on a thermal cycle known as the Stirling cycle. Invented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the Stirling cycle involves the movement of pressurized gas within a sealed engine. The engine requires an external source of heat (from solar energy, combustion, or any other heat source). There is no combustion within the engine, and no exhaust. This clean and quiet technology has found various niche applications, such as on-board power generation on submarines and yachts. There is also substantial interest in utilizing Stirling cycle engines for alternative power generation, for example, using solar dishes as a source of heat.

Stirling engines and related devices, used in low temperature cryo-coolers, typically incorporate a high-surface area permeable matrix known as a "regenerator." The regenerator functions as a thermal battery that provides temporary heat storage during the cycle. Hot gas flowing through the regenerator imparts heat to the matrix. The gas is cooled, while the heat remains stored in the regenerator. When the cycle reverses, cool gas flows through the heated regenerator and becomes heated as the regenerator is cooled.

MKI has produced regenerators for the National Institute of Standards and Technology ("NIST"), which were used in studies that identified Dynapore® diffusion-bonded wire mesh as an ideal regenerator matrix. MKI has produced substantial quantities of regenerators, utilizing special sintering and machining technologies developed specifically for this purpose. While most regenerators are produced in austenitic stainless steels, MKI has also produced suitable matrices of phosphor bronze, copper, and other materials.

Call us today and find out how MKI can custom design and fabricate a regenerator to your specifications!

Martin Kurz & Co., Inc.

8439 Triad Drive • Greensboro, NC, USA 27409
Ph: 336-217-3814 • Fax: 336-668-4452