Illustration of Stirling engine

1816 Stirling engine

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Robert Stirling thermodynamics Illustration of Stirling engine

Stirling engine

With a heat source on one end and a heat sink on the other, gas in chambers, and two pistons can move a wheel. With a wheel mechanically powered, two pistons can compress and expand a gas to move heat from one end to another.

Heat engine, heat pump

Mechanical energy from waste heat. Heat pump for heating or cooling.

In the real world

An ideal Stirling engine cannot be built. Gases transfer heat too slowly and losses occur. * Imperfect instruments require compromises. It takes a while to figure things out.

The Stirling engine is an “external combustion engine”; its inside is completely sealed; its operation requires an external source of heat.

An alpha-type Stirling engine has two cylinders and two pistons. A beta-type Stirling engine has one cylinder, one piston, and a gas displacer. A gamma-type Stirling engine has two cylinders, one piston, and a gas displacer.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: