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