Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Theoretical and Experimental Study for the Development of efficient and economic Stirling Regenerators - REGENERATE, Final Report

Project ID: ENK5-CT-2001-00527
Funded under: FP5-EESD


Stirling engines make use of regenerative heat exchangers (regenerators) which are arranged in the gas transportation channels between the hot and cold parts of the engine system. The function of the regenerator is alternatively to store heat from the hot blow, and return it to the reversed cold blow of the oscillating gas flow.
The efficient heat transfer between the metallic matrix material of the regenerator and the working gas is of crucial importance for achieving high systems performances. During each engine cycle, a multiple of the net heat in- or output of the system has to be transferred alternatively between the gas and the matrix. This process preferably takes place within a regular, finely divided porous structure, providing a large contact area between the regenerator matrix and the fluid. Furthermore, the pressure drop, the dead gas volume as well as the heat conduction losses between the hot and cold side of the matrix must be kept as low as possible. These constraints readily explain the difficulty of optimising such structures, which need to be conceived in considering jointly the thermo- and fluid-dynamic aspects of these structures, as well as many further system parameters imposed by the Stirling system.
A particular challenge is then set by the economic manufacture of precise, highly repetitive miniaturised structures having a prescribed geometry.
Furthermore, the quality of the regenerator can hardly be assessed by direct measurements on the component itself, but needs to be deduced indirectly from physical parameters and from overall performance measurements made during the operation of complete Stirling systems.

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