Center for Energy, University of Pittsburgh
positioning our region for the future.
High Performance, Compact Thermoacoustic Refrigeration
The Stirling cycle is an external combustion engine that can be powered by use of solar energy or waste heat from other processes. This work will focus on the Stirling cycle and its application to thermoacoustic heat engines (TASHEs) and thermoacoustic refrigerators (TARs). More specifically, it will address their inherent loss mechanisms. In thermoacoustics, those losses can be of an acoustic nature and of a thermal nature. The former has been investigated to a large degree, while the latter remains a largely unknown area.
Application and Benefits
Thermoacoustic engines have almost exclusively been applied to refrigeration as a replacement for vapor compression refrigerators. The heat-driven system is mostly noted for its complete lack of moving parts, so that there are no sliding seals. The benefits of a TASHE are that it can be:
- powered by waste heat,
- utilized in remote locations, and
- miniaturized for electronics or distributed cooling applications.
Our work will provide a detailed understanding of the loss mechanisms and the influence of the regenerator, resonator, and heat-exchanger geometries on the performance of a TASHE. We will:
- create a detailed CFD model of the entire heat engine,
- test various geometries on a large scale,
- optimize the system parameters for a variety of objectives (efficiency, input temperature, etc.), and
- develop a small-scale TASHE.
National Science Foundation
Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science