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Group Members:
Umer Naeem


Hashim Mehmood


Hasan Iqbal


Project Supervisor
Akhtar Husain
Assistant Professor










Submitted By:
Umer Naeem


Hashim Mehmood


Hasan Iqbal


Project Supervisor
Assistant Professor Akhtar Husain

Head of Department
Dr. Basharat Ullah Malik

We thank ALLAH ALMIGHTY for without him nothing is possible. WE wish to
thank our parents and Mr. Muhammad Iqbal (Senior Deputy Manager, AMSON
Vaccines and Pharma PVT Ltd) for his undivided support, vast knowledge and
interest that inspired us and encouraged us throughout, without whom we would
be unable to complete the project.
We would like to express our greatest gratitude to the people who have helped &
supported us throughout our project. We are grateful to our project supervisor Sir
Akhtar Husain for his continuous support for the project, from initial advice &
contacts in the early stages of conceptual inception & through ongoing advice,
guidance and encouragement to this day.
We would also thank our Institution and our faculty members including Dr. Afzaal
Malik and Engr. Ahad Nazir who initially motivated us to work on this project
and then helped us in completing it and exchanged interesting ideas, thoughts and
made the targets of this project achievable.
We would also like to appreciate the guidance given in our project presentation
that has improved our project by a great deal.
At last but not the least we want to thank the mechanics, welders, machinist and
all the technical people who appreciated and helped us build the project.

Our project involves modification of a twin type air compressor to convert it into
an Alpha type Stirling Engine so that it may run off any source of heat at the
required temperature. Thou the outer geometry of the two may look quite similar
in reality the internal working it quite contrary. Initially it was a collaborative
project with another group and was supposed to run off solar energy after being
mounted on a dual axis sun tracker mechanism, however due to it increased size,
weight, and required operating temperature the target was reconsidered and it was
decided the engine would be a fixed one and run off any other alternate heat
source (Propane flame in the case of this project). The major difficulty
encountered during the course of this project was the sealing of the engine by
preventing leakages from the piston cylinder contact surfaces and other numerous
connecting joints and valves. Various adjustments had to be made and alternate
materials used to prevent leakages at high working pressure, however these
materials also limited the heating temperature to below 300C. Compensation had
to be reached between the working pressure and maximum temperature.
The results of this project are interesting as it has a very low cost and involves
something new because modifications of V-twin type air compressors for use as
Stirling Engines has not been attempted before. In theory it is possible and with
this project we attempt to put our collective knowledge to use and see if this
concept is physically feasible within the scope of what we have learnt in the last 4
years and available resources.

List of figures & Tables

Figure 1: Efficiency of circular fins of length L and constant thickness t Page 36

List of symbols and abbreviations

Phase angle
Stroke Volume Compression chamber
Dead Volume Compression chamber
Temperature compression cylinder
Stroke Volume Compression chamber
Dead Volume Compression chamber
Temperature compression cylinder
Regenerator Volume
Mean Pressure
Displacer Piston
Power Piston
Universal Gas Constant
Mass of gas


Table of Contents
Page No
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 History

1.2 Thermodynamic Cycles

1.3 Working of Stirling engine

1.4 Types of Stirling engines

1.5 Action of an Alpha Type Stirling Engine


1.6 Advantages


1.7 Disadvantages


1.8 Applications


Chapter 2: Description
2.1 Theory
2.2 Working Gas
2.3 Engine Specifications
2.4 SCHMIDT Analysis
2.5 Indicated Energy, Power and Efficiency
2.6 MATLAB Simulation Results
2.7 Fin Effectiveness

Piston Rings


Chapter 3: Modeling
3.1 Hardware


3.2 Design
Initial design
Secondary Design


Chapter 4: Experimental Setup

4.1 Description
4.2 First test run


4.2 Second test run


Chapter 5: Results and Discussion


Appendix A





History of the Stirling engine

This Project primarily makes an explanation of the manufacturing of an alpha

type Stirling Engine. Firstly, the history of Stirling Engine is presented to make a
guide of first conception. Then the Stirling Engines thermodynamic cycle is
described and the arrangement is examined. After that, the aims to use a Stirling
Engine and its applications are discussed, especially from a power generation
point of view. This describes why the Stirling Engine is widely used in the world
nowadays. And the last part shows the Stirling Engine is applied in each field. But
with a focus on Stirling engines in certain applications such as renewable
energies. This whole project presents a broad demonstration to the Stirling
Engine, and analyzed its value for the power generation applications in remote
Since the early days of mankind he has been searching for ways to make his
everyday life easier and better, trying to find new ways and methods which help
him to accomplish tasks faster and with a lesser amount of work input. He has
always been looking for ways to accomplish what was only dreamed about and
never tried in real life, for his benefit and others or just for the pleasure of not
having to do the dull, boring and tiresome work himself.
Over thousands of years that mankind has lived he has made countless discoveries
and invented numerous devices and tools which well never be able to count, from
creating something like an ordinary axed log of wood used as a wheel to using
wood for making shelter and bridges and then using such innovative creations and
devices as a foundation to make improvements and more complex and useful

But one of the most basic and fundamental things that we really have been
searching for since the beginning of this journey has been ways to not have to do
the exhausting physical work ourselves. We used animals, as a form of transport,
as a source of power to move heavy objects, but as people began to have better
lives they also ended up wanting bigger and better luxuries.
Finally we understood that anything living, even those animals had a limit to the
amount of power they could provide, and soon enough we realized that our
inventions and machinery with their ever increasing complex designs that we
were creating needed more power to run and just wouldnt work with the power
available from animals or any other living thing for the matter.
Finally we entered into a new era where we discovered the availability of
chemical energy, thermal energy, electricity, etc. and realized that these held the
potential to meet our need of a large source of power which could be delivered in
the form of motors and engines that would keep on running much longer without
ever getting tired like living things. But then we realized that in the near future
even the hydrocarbon fuels which supply the raw chemical/thermal energy to run
these powerful engines will eventually run out.
Since then we have been looking for way to make engines which can run of other
sources, and have succeeded in trying to make a smaller and lighter engine so it
may be used on a bicycle, or as a portable generator while running as quietly as
sewing machine. Its exhaust gases are nonpoisonous, nonpolluting and practically
odorless. It starts easily, and runs without repair for many hundreds of hours,
using practically any source of heat available. This remarkable invention is The
Stirling Engine.

The Stirling engine (also known as the hot-air engine) is an externally-fired heat
engine invented in 1816 by Robert Stirling. Fascinated by engineering, in his
spare time, he built prototype heat engines in his home workshop. On September
27, 1816, Reverend Robert Stirling applied for a patent for his economizer at the
Chancery in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In the early 1900s, the term Stirling engine was coined by Rolf Meijer as a
generic description of all types of closed cycle regenerative gas engines.
Stirling engines are unique heat engines because their theoretical efficiency is
nearly equal to their theoretical maximum efficiency known as the Carnot Cycle
Stirling engines are driven by the expansion of a gas when heated, followed by
the compression of the gas when cooled. The Stirling engine holds a static volume
of gas that is transported to and fro between a "cold" end (usually room
temperature) and a heated "hot" end. The displacer piston transfers the gas
between the two ends and the power piston changes the internal volume as the gas
expands and contracts.
Philips Corporation carried out research and development on the Stirling engine
as the power source of portable generators in about 1940. As a result of which a
200W Class Stirling engine was completed in about 1950.

In 1970, William Beale, then an associate professor of engineering, invented the

Free-Piston Stirling engine as part of his exercises for his engineering students.
Increasingly inspired by the numerous environmentally-sound uses of the engine,
Beale decided to commit himself to the design, improvement and eventually
common use of his technology. He coined the name "Sun power" as a reflection of
his belief that the energy of the sun and the power of his creation could get
together and change the way the world harnesses energy.


Thermodynamic Cycle

It is operated by repeated compressing and expanding of air or any other gas that
is used as the working fluid. The working fluid in different cylinders is at different
temperature which results in different pressures in each cylinder and thus a net
transformation of heat energy to mechanical work. Like any heat engine, the
Stirling engine also has the four basic processes of compression, heating,
expansion, and cooling.





Engineering Ricllland Washif

Stirling engines are unique heat engines because their theoretical efficiency is
nearly equal to their theoretical maximum efficiency known as the Carnot Cycle
Efficiency. Today we have ecology problems and energy problems. The world
needs a clean and environmental power source.
It works as a closed-cycle thermodynamic regenerative heat engine with a fixed
amount of gaseous working fluid, which basically means that he working fluid is
permanently contained within the system, unlike an Internal Combustion (IC)
engine which works on an open-cycle where the hot gases are expelled into the
atmosphere after useful work has been done by them, the Stirling engine is an

external combustion engine. Thus separating the burning method and any
pollutants it may produce from the moving components of the engine.
The term regenerative defines the usage of a specific category of internal heat
exchanger which performs as a thermal store. It is made from a material which
stores energy from the hot gas, and then ejects it back to the cooler gas which
greatly improves the engine's potential efficiency.
Even though the Stirling engine is conventionally defined as an external
combustion engine, the heat can be supplied by a non-combustible source i.e.
solar or nuclear. This is well-suited with alternative and renewable energy sources
and has developed significantly as the cost of conventional fossil fuels increases.
A Stirling engine operates through the use of an external heat source and an
external heat sink having a suitably large temperature gradient between them. The
only requirement is that the difference of temperature is great enough to overcome
the friction generated by the motion of moving parts. The greater the change of
temperature, the more the engine will react to the change in pressure inside the
engine. There are no exhaust valves that vent high-pressure gasses, as in a
gasoline or diesel engine, and there are no explosions taking place. Because of
this, Stirling engines are very quiet.


How it works

The Stirling engine is based on the natural fact that the pressure of the working
fluid in a sealed container will increase if it is heated and decrease if the working
fluid is cooled. The Stirling engine contains a fixed amount of gas that is
transferred back and forth between a "cold" end, often only room temperature,
and a heated "hot" end. The engine is designed so that the working fluid sealed
within its cylinders is initially compressed, then heated to increase its pressure,
which results in is expansion to produce power, then cooled to lower its pressure,
then compressed to begin the cycle again.
Since the gas is at a higher average temperature, and therefore pressure, during its
expansion than during its compression, additional power is created through
expansion than is reabsorbed through compression, and this net excess power is
the useful output of the engine. The same gas is used over and over again, making
the Stirling a sealed, closed-cycle system. All that is added to the system is high
temperature heat, and all that is removed from the system is low temperature
(waste) heat and mechanical power.
The basic concept of a Stirling engine may not be a perfect engine, but the
efficiency does come closer to perfection than any other engine developed to the
present day. Simply stated, the quantity of energy input to the system to make the
engine run is a lesser amount of than that required for other categories of engines.


Types of Stirling Engines

There are three basic types of Stirling engines based on its design.
1. The first type is called the gamma engine in which the heating & cooling
function of the working gas is performed in one cylinder by a reciprocating
element called a displacer, and the compression & expansion function is
performed in a separate cylinder by a power piston.
2. A second type is called the beta engine, which is similar the gamma engine
with the exception that the piston and displacer are mounted concentrically within
the same cylinder. The concentricity of these reciprocating components generally
requires that a drive rod from the displacer extend through the piston, which is an
indirect but significant mechanical disadvantage. On the other hand, the closeness
of the displacer and the piston permits for a smaller dead volume, and higher
compression, efficiency, and power. The rhombic drive is often applied to this
type of engine.
3. A third type is called the alpha or two piston engine, wherein two pistons in
separate cylinders cooperate to perform both the heating & cooling function and
the compression & expansion function. The key to understanding the alpha engine
is to realize that since the cylinders are at all times in open communication with
each other, the compression & expansion cycle leads the cold piston motion by
one-half the phase angle, and follows the hot piston motion by a like amount.
Therefore, most of the working gas is in the hot space during the expansion stroke
and in the cold space during the compression stroke.
The design being followed in this project is an Alpha type Stirling engine.




(a) Alpha type (b) Beta Type (c) Gamma type. Image source: Unknown
H Hot
R Regenerator
C Cold
DP Displacer Piston
PP Power Piston

Why Alpha type?

We chose Alpha type configuration because
1. Simplicity of design
2. Low power generation desired
3. High power to volume ratio
Now we shall only be discussing alpha type configuration


Actions of an Alpha Type Stirling Engine

The following diagrams show the 4 working processes of an alpha type Stirling
engine. They do not display the heat exchangers in the compression and
expansion cylinders, which are needed to produce power. If a regenerator was
used it would be placed in the pipe joining the two cylinders.

1. Most of the working gas is in contact with the hot cylinder walls, it has been
heated and expansion has pushed the hot piston to the top of the cylinder.
Expansion continues in the cold cylinder piston, which is 90o behind the hot
piston in its cycle, extracting still more work from the hot gas

2. The gas is now at its maximum volume. The hot cylinder piston begins to move
most of the gas into the cold cylinder, where it cools and the pressure drops.


3. Almost all the gas is now in the cold cylinder and cooling continues. The cold
piston, powered by flywheel momentum or other piston pairs on the same shaft,
compresses the remaining part of the gas.


The gas reaches its minimum volume and the hot cylinder piston will now allow
it to expand in the hot cylinder where it will be heated once more and drive the
hot piston in its power stroke.


The major advantages of Stirling Engines are:

Stirling engine can run on multiple sources like, heat from solar,

geothermal, biological, nuclear sources or any other source of energy.

Stirling engines require less lubrication and can run for longer periods of

This engine mechanism requires no valves and is similar to a reciprocating

A Stirling engine has a low risk of explosion by maintaining the working

pressure equivalent to desired pressure.

Run very quietly as no explosions or internal combustion processes are

Stirling engine start easily after a warm-up period.
More efficient in cold weather conditions.
Stirling engine is an effective method for pumping water.
Stirling engines are extremely flexible.
Stirling engines use heat exchangers for heat in and out, the heat
exchanger is mostly at a very high temperature therefore such suitable
material requirement increases the cost and accounts for more or less of
40% of the total cost of engine.


The major disadvantages of Stirling Engines are:

The use of Stirling engine in automobiles has been unsuccessful due to the
large radiator sizes which increases material cost. As coolant temperature
is kept low to maximize thermal efficiency, radiator size is thereby
increased which makes the installment less feasible and therefore also

increases material costs.

Stirling engines give low power output compared to the size of the engine.
Engine can be built large operating on low temperature differences but it

gives less output.

A Stirling engine does not start instantaneously; it needs a "jump start".
This can be done by the help of a starter motor or the engine can be hand

Adjusting of power output of a Stirling engine requires careful measures.
For instance; changing the quantity of working gas, varying engine
displacement, altering the piston phase angle or simply altering the engine

load can cause changes in power output.

Hydrogen is a highly thermally conductive gas and it has the least
viscosity thus it acts as the most efficient working gas for Stirling engine.
However, hydrogen has a high diffusion rate and with a small molecular
size the gas escapes very quickly and thus it becomes difficult to maintain
the inside working pressure. Hydrogen is also a very flammable gas and

can be risky to use.

Most Stirling engines use helium but the helium molecule is very small

and the gas can escape from the cylinder.

Compressed air as the working gas can also be used in Stirling engines.
Although they are less efficient, however, a reservoir can be attached to
maintain the working gas pressure inside the cylinder



Military uses:
If weapons dissuade countries from going to war (we can dream!), then we can be
delighted by introduction of Stirling engines into the military field.
- An attack submarine of Swedish army is equipped with Stirling engines for its
auxiliary electrical production in order to provide the vital functions in the event
of unavailability of the main source. Its silence of operation is a major asset in this
application. In the same context, the Australian navy has also adopted it for a
3000 tons displacement submarine.
- Some military ships also use this technology: corvettes or boats for mine
detection or acoustic monitoring.
Spatial domain:
Some satellites get energy through a Stirling engine. The efficiency is particularly
high considering the great differences in temperature. The hot source consists of
radioactive isotopes. The use of radioactive elements is not very ecological; it
presents risks at the time of the take-off of the rocket. The justification comes
owing to the fact that solar panels can be dirtied or be destroyed in certain zones
of space, as near Mars.
Solar applications:
When one takes advantage of energy from the Sun, one uses a reflective dish
which concentrates the sunbeams in only one point: the focus of the dish where
you install the Stirling engine. In the United States, great reflective dishes were
installed in the desert with Stirling engines to generate electricity without buying
fuel! Photovoltaic panels have a poor performance, about 15%. Therefore, at
equal power, their surface is larger than reflectors of a Stirling engine).


Research and oceanographically exploitation:

SAGA (Submarine Assistance Great Autonomy), which became operational in the
1990 years, allowed to cover more than 150 nautical miles away, for a campaign
of 10 days per 300 m deep. It was driven by two Stirling engines supplied with
diesel and liquid oxygen.
Cryogenic Domain:
The reversibility of the Stirling engine is used in order to produce cold in an
industrial way. Its efficiency is then excellent. In this type of operation, is called
Stirling coolers", we provide mechanical energy to the engine. In fact, we
transfer calories from the cold source the hot source, like in a domestic
refrigerator. This mode of operation is so efficient that we use this type of
installation to liquefy certain gas.
Domestic uses:
Small installations were developed in order to function in cogeneration: electricity
supply and dwelling heating. One chooses fuel (oil, wood, wood pellets) to
make electricity and to heat a house. During certain periods, it is possible to sell
excess electricity if one is connected to the grid. Some pleasure boats are
equipped like that.
Automobile motorization:
During the years 1940-1980, Philips company studied various applications of the
Stirling engine. One of them consisted in equipping a Ford Torino, but this test
was not a success and this project was stopped. Now, is hybrid electric automobile
a new luck for Stirling engine.
Some fans have made beautiful small-scale models which are moved by a Stirling


After the second world war, Philips developed and marketed the stirling engine
generator. This had a power of approximately 150 Watts.
The spectrum of the Stirling engines begins with the micro engine, satisfied with
1 C of temperature difference, and finishes with the engine for an industrial use.
As for the primary energy, it may be the sun, oil, wood, gas
Electric vehicles
Stirling engines as part of a hybrid electric drive system may be able to bypass the
design challenges or disadvantages of a non-hybrid Stirling automobile.
In November 2007, a prototype hybrid car using solid biofuel and a Stirling
engine was announced by the Precer project in Sweden.




The Stirling cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that describes the general class of
Stirling devices. The idealized Stirling cycle consists of four thermodynamic
processes acting on the working fluid contained in the chambers:

Source: Wikipedia

1. Isothermal Expansion: Heat addition at constant temperature. The gas undergoes

near-isothermal expansion absorbing heat from the hot source.
2. Constant-Volume heat-removal: The gas flows through the regenerator, where it
somewhat cools down by transmitting heat to the regenerator so that the heat can
be reused when the gas passes back through it in the other half of the cycle.
3. Isothermal Compression: Heat is rejected at constant temperature. Usually
standard atmospheric temperature. Thus the gas undergoes near-isothermal
compression while rejecting heat to the cold sink.
4. Constant-Volume heat-addition: The gas passes back through the regenerator
where it heats up slightly by recovering much of the heat transferred in 2.

The cycle is the same as most other heat cycles in that there are four main
processes: compression, heat addition, expansion, and heat removal. However,
these processes are not discrete, but rather the process transitions overlap.


Although the Stirling engine has the potential to achieve the highest efficiency (40
%) of any real heat engine (conversion of input heat energy to output work) ,
theoretically up to the full Carnot efficiency, in practice this is limited by nonideal properties and behavior of the working gas and engine materials, such as
friction between the moving parts, Variable thermal conductivity of the working
fluid, tensile strength, creep, melting point, etc.
In recent years, the advantages of Stirling engines have become increasingly
significant, given the general rise in energy costs, energy shortages and
environmental concerns due to the burning of carbon based fuels such as climate
change and global warming. These growing interests in Stirling technology have
fostered the ongoing research and development of Stirling devices. These
applications include water pumping, space-based astronautics and electrical
generation from plentiful energy sources that are incompatible with the internal
combustion engine, such as solar energy and agricultural waste.
Another useful characteristic of the Stirling engine is that if supplied with
mechanical power, it can function as a heat pump. Experiments have been
performed using wind power driving a Stirling cycle heat pump for domestic
heating and air conditioning.




Working Fluid.

In different theories, no explicit account is taken of the physical characteristics of the

working fluid, except its behavior as a perfect gas (i.e. it obeys the characteristic gas
equation PV = RT). However, the assumptions on which the theory is based imply
the use of an idealized working fluid, having properties not found in nature. The
assumption that there are no aerodynamic-friction losses could only be true if the
working fluid were to have zero viscosity. Likewise, the suppositions of perfect
regeneration and isothermal compression and expansion can only be achieved if the
working gas were to have fantastic values for specific heat and thermal conductivity.
In practice there seems to be only three working gases of substantial interest: Air,
Helium and Hydrogen. A ir is of interest because it is so easily available.
H eliu m and Hydrogen are of interest because their thermo physical
characteristics permit high rates of heat transfer and flow to occur, with
comparatively small aerodynamic-flow losses. In relation to engine performance,
Hydrogen is much better than Helium, and it is also much economical, but is
extremely flammable in the presence of A ir or Oxygen.
Engines of high specific power output and high thermal efficiency, operating
at high pressures and speeds (i.e. more than 2000 rev/min), must use Hydrogen or
H el iu m as the working gas, so that they achieve the rates of heat and mass
transfer required, with acceptable flow losses. The sealing complications are
very severe, however. Additionally, the control systems required to vary engine
output are complex, since they must include reservoirs, valves, and, perhaps, a
compressor to vary the pressure level, while conserving the working gas. The
price of mechanisms of this sort is high, and applications are to be expected to
be restricted to comparatively large engines, where the advantages of low noise
levels justify increased cost, compared with internal -combustion engines. Cooling


engines of high output (or those intended for refrigeration at cryogenic

temperatures) must also use H eliu m or hydrogen as the working fluid.
Engines using Air as working fluid cannot achieve the high rates of heat and mass
transfer found in Hydrogen or Helium engines. Such machines are, typically,
large heavy engines of low specific output and low thermal efficiency. However,
the working fl u i d can readily be replenished from atmospheric Air, so that the
sealing and materials problems are substantially eliminated, and the machines
can be simple, cheap, and reliable. Air engines have such a poor performance that
they offer no serious competition to internal-combustion engines, in either
automotive or general-purpose applications.
There is, however, an urgent and increasing need for low-power engines of high
reliability and moderate efficiency, capable of operating unattended for long
periods and utilizing fossil, or radioisotope fuels. The engines are required to
drive electric-power generators for navigational,

meteorological, and

telecommunications purposes. Stirling-cycle A i r engines appear admirably

suited for this purpose.


2.3Engine Specifications
Phase angle
Stroke Volume Compression chamber
Dead Volume Compression chamber
Temperature compression cylinder
Stroke Volume Compression chamber
Dead Volume Compression chamber
Temperature compression cylinder
Regenerator Volume
Mean Pressure


240.707 cm2
20.648 cm2
303 K
240.707 cm2
20.648 cm2
623 K
40 cm2
2.5 Bar




The Schmidt theory is one of the isothermal calculation methods for Stirling
engines. It is the most simple method and very useful during Stirling engine
This theory is based on the isothermal expansion and compression of an ideal gas.
The performance of the engine can be calculated by a P-V (Indicator) diagram.
The volume in the engine is easily calculated by using the internal geometry
measurements. When the volume, mass of the working gas and the temperature is
decided, the pressure is calculated using an ideal gas equation.


(a) There is no pressure loss in the heat-exchangers and there are no internal
pressure differences.
(b) The expansion process and the compression process changes isothermal.
(c) The working gas acts as an ideal gas.
(d) There is perfect regeneration.
(e) The expansion dead space maintains the high expansion gas temperature - TE
(Thot) the compression dead space maintains the low compression gas temperature
- TC (Tcold) during the cycle.
(f) The regenerator gas temperature is an average of the expansion gas
temperature - TE and the compression gas temperature - TC.
(g) The expansion space volume - VE and the compression space volume VC changes according to sine curves.
The volumes of the expansion- and compression cylinder at a given crank angle
are determined at first. The momental volume is described with a crank angle - x.


This crank angle is defined as x=0 when the expansion piston is located the most
top position (top dead point).


The momental expansion volume - VE is given by

1cos +V DE


The momental compression volume - VC is found by (3) where dx is the phase

}+V DC
V C=


The total momental volume is calculated in equation (4).


V =V E +V R +V C

The temperature ratio - t, a swept volume ratio - v and other dead volume ratios
are found using the following equations.









X DC =



The regenerator temperature - TR is calculated as

T R=

T E +T C

This is the average of the hot and cold cylinder temperatures. A much accurate
regenerator temperature can be obtained by using


T R=

log E


The engine pressure - P, based the mean engine pressure - Pmean is calculated as:P mean S2B2
P mean 1c 2
SB cos( xa) 1c cos ( xa)



v sin dx
t +cos dx

S=t2 t X DE +

4t XR
+ v +2 X DC

B= t 2+2 tv cos dx+ v 2




The equations mentioned above allow us to plot a PV diagram for an Alpha type
Stirling engine against different crank angles.



Indicated Energy, Power and Efficiency

The indicated energy is the area of the P-V diagram. The indicated energy of the
expansion space - WE (J), based on the mean pressure - P mean, the minimum
pressure - Pmin and the maximum pressure - Pmax are described in the following
W E= P d V E

Pmean V SE c sin a
1+ 1c2

Pmin V SE c sin a
1+ 1c

Pmax V SE c sin a
1+ 1c





The indicated energy in the compression space - WC (J) is described in the

following equations.
W C = P d V C

Pmean V SE c t sin a
1+ 1c

Pmin V SE c t sin a
1+ 1c

Pmax V SE ct sin a
1+ 1c


1+ c



Thus the indicated energy per one cycle of this engine WI (J) is
W I =W E +W C
W I=

P mean V SE c ( 1t ) sin a
1+ 1c 2

Pmin V SE c (1t)sin a
1+ 1c

P max V SE c (1t )sin a

1+ 1c




The indicated power of this engine LI (W) is defined as;

LI =W I n


Where n is the engine speed in rpm.

The thermal efficiency of the engine - e is calculated in the next equation.





MATLAB Simulation Results

We wrote a MATLAB code to run simulations on the previously discussed theory

of Schmidt analysis. Attached Appendix A. The results of those simulations at the
mentioned operating conditions are shown now.
The max volume (Pmax) is: 4.722089 x 10 2 cm3
The min volume (Pmin) is: 1.330931 x 10 2 cm3
The max pressure (Pmax) is: 4.782922 10 5 Pascal
The min pressure (Pmax) is: 1.324561 10 5 Pascal

53.3297 Joules


= -25.9372 Joules



= 136.9623 Watts

27.3925 Joules

Efficiency = e = 0.5136


Indicator Diagram (PV)

Pressure vs Crank angle


Total Volume vs Crank angle



Fin Effectiveness

Fins are used to enhance heat transfer, and the use of fins on a surface cannot be
recommended unless the enhancement in heat transfer justifies the added cost and
complexity associated with the fins. In fact, there is no assurance that adding fins
on a surface will enhance heat transfer. The performance of the fins is judged on
the basis of the enhancement in heat transfer relative to the no-fin case. The
performance of fins expressed in terms of the fin effectiveness fin is defined as

T b T

h Ab
Qfin Q fin
Q no fin

Here, Ab is the cross-sectional area of the fin at the base and Q

no fin

represents the

rate of heat transfer from this area if no fins are attached to the surface. An
effectiveness of fin = 1indicates that the addition of fins to the surface does not
affect heat transfer at all. That is, heat conducted to the fin through the base area
Ab is equal to the heat transferred from the same area Ab to the surrounding
medium. An effectiveness of fin 1 indicates that the fin actually acts as
insulation, slowing down the heat transfer from the surface. This situation can
occur when fins made of low thermal conductivity materials are used. An
effectiveness of fin 1 indicates that fins are enhancing heat transfer from the
surface, as they should. However, the use of fins cannot be justified unless fin is
sufficiently larger than 1. Finned surfaces are designed on the basis of maximizing
effectiveness for a specified cost or minimizing cost for a desired effectiveness.


The calculations are done to find out the effect of fins on the cold cylinder. The
convection heat transfer coefficient used is close to stationary air (natural
convection) to calculate the minimum level of increase in heat transfer, with an air
draft the convection heat transfer coefficient would increase and result in better
No of fins

N= 6

Fin thickness

t= 2mm

Distance between fins


Height of fin area

H= 67mm

Wall temperature

TH = 298 k

Bulk temperature

T = 565 k

Convective coefficient

h=50 w/m2k

Inner radius


Outer Radius


Fin length

L=15 mm


r2 + t/2= 57.6mm


L +t/2= 16mm


LC * t= 3.2 * 10-5 m2

Fin area

AF= 2 (r2c2-r12)= 0.0106 m2

Total area

AT= NAF + 2 r1 (H-Nt) = 0.0776 m2

Heat transfer calculated for the cylinder with no fin = 210 watt
Area fin = 0.010573 m2
Heat transfer from the fin = 76.1256 watts
Area un-finned = 0.003302 m2
Heat transfer from un-finned portion = 24.765 watts


Total heat transfer

= number of fins x (Heat transfer from fin + Heat transfer

from un-finned)
= 6 x (76.1256 + 24.765) watts
= 605.345 watts

Increase in heat transfer = Total heat transfer - Heat transfer with no fin
= 605.345 210 watts
= 395.3436 watts

fin =

605.345 watts
210 watts



Piston Rings

The piston rings on the Stirling engine uses standard sized steel rings with an oil
ring at the bottom. Although this provides a very good seal, this is not enough to
seal the compressed air that will be trapped inside the chambers. Engine oil will
be used to lubricate the chamber walls and to reduce metal to metal wear, it will
also create a thin film around the piston rings to help seal the air but that is still
not enough to completely trap the air.
Graphite is a material that is self-lubricating and has high tensile strength. It can
tolerate temperatures up to red hot and has a low thermal expansion rate but it is
hard to machine and along with that it is expensive and requires precision
engineering which in our case is not an option. Next aluminum rings can be used
which are available easily in the market but they provide an even greater friction
when compared to steel.
Next silicon rings although very rare but provides excellent sealing properties but
the disadvantage of using silicon is that it has a low melting point around 95C
which is not possible to be used in our cylinders. Sirvon is another name for a
blue plastic Teflon bearing ring used for sealing in air and hydraulic applications
but they are used in applications where there is not much movement of internal
Next we consider Teflon piston rings. Teflon rings would provide a much better
sealing of air but Teflon rings are not readily available. Teflon is difficult to
machine to the kind of dimensional tolerances required for this type of engine. It
is very soft and tends to move away from the tool rather than cut. Teflon has a
very high coefficient of thermal expansion which means that the fit will be lose at
room temperature but it will tighten up as it gets warm since the Teflon rings will


expand faster than the bore. This can be problematic, or could play to the
So Getting the chamber walls polished and then installing brand new rings would
help to close up the clearances between the rings and the chamber walls but that
would in turn increase friction the tighter the seal the greater the friction.
As Teflon rings are not available in Pakistan, it became quite problematic for us to
solve the leakage problem that we faced. Fortunately we were able to find a left
over piece of Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE white Teflon just big enough so
that 4 rings could be machined out of it. PTFE reduces friction, wear, and energy
consumption of machinery. Its melting point is 600 K so we had to reduce the
maximum operating temperature of the engine.

PTFE White Teflon tube

Teflon copper rings are extremely flexible and can be stretched over the piston
and fitted. However that is not possible with plain Teflon as it would permanently


deform if stretched. Gap rings cannot be used with such an engine as they would
immediately allow the air to leak out when the pressure rises.
So the machined Teflon rings were made to the exact groove sizes and then
opened by giving a very smooth and fine cut in its circumference by using a
blade. After fitting when the 2 cut surfaces are brought together they are so
smooth that the gap is close to zero and provides sufficient sealing that is
adequate for our needs. Another benefit of using Teflon is that it doesnt require
oil lubrication. Thus the oil rings and oil sump can be removed to further decrease
the friction in the engine.

Machined PTFE White Teflon ring


A list of all the engine components is:1. Expansion and compression cylinders
2. Expansion and compression heads
3. Crankcase
4. Pistons
5. Teflon Piston rings
6. Connecting rods
7. Wrist pin
8. Bearing
9. Flywheel
10. Transmission pipe
11. Hot gases transfer duct
12. Air reservoir
13. Pressure gauge
14. Pressure regulator
15. Pressure control valve


As we have been working on this project for 3 semesters, there have been various
changes in the design of our hardware over time; we will be mentioning those and the
reasons behind such modifications in the design. All our 3D modeling has been done
on CREO Parmetric. Each part was made separately and then they were all assembled
together in assembly mode. Various types of constraints were used in CREO Parmetric
such as pin joints, cylindrical joints and ridged joints to properly assemble the engine.
Once our engine was properly assembled we used a servo motor to run it and perform a
position analysis. An animation of the running Stirling engine model is also available.


Initial design
In the initial stages of the project our target was complete fabrication of the parts from
scratch. All the parts were being designed based on the literature review that we carried
out. As we were not aware about the manufacturing limitations and cost constraints at
that time we had to make changes later on. Below is mentioned a brief summary of our
1st design.
In our original design we decided to use a similar expansion chamber design to the
ST05G Stirling engine. It uses a tube bundle heat exchanger. This allows greater rate of
heat addition to the working gas in the expansion cylinder. We also decided to use a
curved piston design with creates a more turbulent flow in the chamber and hence
greater heat transfer from the cylinder walls to the working gas.


1. Central housing (crankcase)

2. Compression Cylinder

3. Expansion Cylinder

4. Hot Piston


5. Fluid transfer pipe


Secondary design
As we had a lot of cost and manufacturing constraints in the initial design we
started looking for alternatives. The initial design was costing us roughly 1.5 lakh
to make. The cost included casting of the cylinders, crankcase and cylinder heads
from scratch. Patterns were to be made for each individual part and hence the
increased cost.
During our literature review and research we came across an amateur project, in
with the designer was modifying a V-twin type air compressor to convert it into a
Stirling engine. We decided to go for this approach as it was much more
economical and practical for us with the given resources.
After searching a few places we purchased a V-twin type air compressor from a
scrapyard in Industrial Estate Sihala. The compressor had the same basic
geometry that we required for our project. Some defects were present such as
extra bearing friction, piston oil ring was cracked and cylinder walls were
scratched. The bearing was opened up and repaired by giving it a new casing. The
oil ring was replaced. The cylinder walls were polished twice to remove most of
the scratches present. The piston rings were initially cast iron ones with expansion
gaps. They were replaced with new seamless rings machined from PTFE white
Teflon tube the benefits of which have been explained earlier.
The compressor cylinders already had fins which played to our advantage as they
would help increase the rate of heat transfer in the expansion cylinder. However
they were not required on the hot cylinder so they were removed by machining on
a lathe machine.
The flywheel was an in important part as Stirling engines are not self-starting.
However 3 fins of the flywheel were cracked and needed to be repaired. They
were welded.


The cylinder head that came with the compressor had a larger dead volume which
was negatively affecting our engine output. So we designed a new cylinder head
on CREO Parametric. It was machined out of a cast iron plate. The new cylinder
head decreased the dead volume to just 3.76 cm3

Top View of Software generated model


Front View Software generated model

Original compressor in scrap condition



Hot Piston


The Pistons used in this engine are of aluminum. They are machined from an
aluminum block. The aluminum pistons help in sealing of the engine, as the
temperature increases with the running of the engine, the pressure also increases
and leakage would also increase, however the coefficient of expansion of
aluminum (pistons) is much greater than that of cast iron (cylinders) hence with
an increase in temperature the seal between engine and piston rings becomes
tighter and tighter to prevent leakage, however this is at the cost of increased

Connecting Rod
The connecting rod connects the piston to the crank or crankshaft in a
reciprocating piston engine. This form of mechanism converts reciprocating linear
motion into rotating motion. Before the engines were developed, connecting rods
were used to convert rotating motion into linear motion. Connecting rods are rigid
and transmit either a push or pull that means the piston is pushing and pulling.
Connecting rods are best known because of their use in internal combustion piston
engines, such as car engines. These are distinct in designs from earlier forms of
connecting rods, used in steam engines and steam locomotives.




Oil Level

The crankcase is the largest part of the engine, the main body that holds all of the
other engine parts together. The crankcase must be built light yet strong, therefore
aluminum is best suited. In a reciprocating internal combustion engine, the
crankcase is the housing for the crankshaft. Crankcases are integrated with the
cylinders and other various parts, forming an engine block.
The area around the crankshaft is called the crankcase. Crankcases and other basic
components such as, cylinders, cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, and other parts
are typically made of cast iron or aluminum through sand casting.
A crankcase has an opening in the bottom to which an oil pan is attached with the
help of a gasket bolted joint. The crankcase is responsible for protecting the
crankshaft and connecting rods from other extended and various engine objects.

Oil Lubrication
Oil lubrication has multiple purposes, from increasing life to cooling and more.
Oil is generally used for rolling bearing lubrication where high speeds or high
operating temperatures impede the use of grease. Oil lubrication is used when


frictional or applied heat needs to be removed from the bearing position to

prevent the parts from getting damaged. Lubrication is also done to protect the
adjacent components in a piston-cylinder engine arrangement. In order to increase
service life, all methods of bearing lubrication that use unsoiled oil are preferred
as clean oils provide better performance.


Fins are designed to increase the surface area that relies on conduction to diffuse
the heat away in order to cool the specified area. Heat is transferred using
convection mode of hat transfer that helps in cooling the fins and warms up the
A fin is an extended surface from an object that helps to increase the heat transfer
rate to or from the environment by conduction and convection. Heat transfer also
Increases due temperature differences, by increase of heat transfer coefficient or
thermal conductivity, but by adding fins, the heat transfer increases as the surface
area increases and is thereby an economical solution to most heat transfer


Fins improve heat transfer by creating turbulent flow through fin geometry, which
decreases the thermal resistance and also by increasing the fin density, which
increases the heat transfer area.

Dead Volume
Dead volume refers to volume within the cylinder which is not swept by the
piston. Dead volume reduces efficiency and is therefore discouraged. There are
two forms of dead volume the thermodynamic dead volume and the dynamic dead


Flywheel is a rotating mass with large moment of inertia to help the engine run
smoothly during power strokes.
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that stores rotational energy and
releases this stored energy by applying torque to a mechanical load. Flywheel also
provides continuous energy. The angular momentum of a flywheel helps


smoothen out engine operations when energy is transferred to or from the

Flywheels are typically made of steel and rotate on conventional bearings.
The inertia of the flywheel opposes the fluctuations, the counter weights on the
opposite sides of the crankshaft continues the rotation of the piston. In automobile
engines, the flywheel smooths out the pulses of energy provided by the
combustion in the cylinders and provides energy for the compression stroke of the


Experimental Setup
For the experimental setup we connected the Stirling engine filling port with a
reservoir of compressed air. A gauge was attached to measure the internal pressure
of the engine and the filling ball valve was attached to its other end. A rubber pipe
tested to a pressure of 9 Bar was used to connect the engine to the reservoir. The
reservoir had a regulator installed on top and a filling valve attached in the lower
section. A compressor was used to fill the reservoir.
Our reservoir was basically a POL GAS cylinder, which had been modified for
our specific use, see picture. The cylinder had a maximum pressure limit of 450
PSI which was well below our required maximum working pressure of 150 PSI.
The reason we used a reservoir instead of directly connecting it to the compressor
was to show the practical movability in using the system where electricity isnt
available to run the compressor.
For heating of the expansion cylinder we initially used the open flame from a
LPG cylinder; however we realized that heating it by that method was not very
practical as most of the hot exhaust was escaping without transferring its heat
We decided to use a duct which would be inserted around the hot cylinder. We
used a tin can for the duct. It was cut in half and placed around the expansion
cylinder and then fastened with the help of metallic wire. An entry port for the
flame was cut into the duct and exhaust port was cut on the top of the duct. This
setup helped us to considerably increase the rate of heat transfer which was
practically noticeable in the expansion cylinder.


An air compressor was used to fill the POLGAS cylinder. The custom assembly
that we attached on top the reservoir was in a T shape, at the base of which was
the main valve (valve 1) to the reservoir. On one end of the T-joint a ball value
(valve 2) was attached. This valve was used for filling of the tank. A rubber pipe
from valve 1 to the air compressor was attached. On the other end of the T-joint
an oxygen gas regulator was attached. The regulator was customized and its
original pressure gauges were replaced with new ones which had the accuracy for
our system. (Original up to 2000 bar, custom pressure gauges up to 150 bar). This
regulator allows us to monitor the pressure of the remaining air in the cylinder as
well as control the operation pressure of the engine. A rubber hose from the
regulator out-let was fixed onto the cold cylinder head inlet port. The system was
checked and there were zero leakages from the mechanical joints.


4.1First test run

For the first test run the system was set up at described in the experimental setup,
the flame was initially kept at a very low level, the temperature of the hot cylinder
was monitored. We observed that the rate of heat transfer was very slow. And
hence we placed the duct around the hot cylinder. As the hot cylinder was made
from cast iron its specific heat was high enough that it took considerable time to
heat up (the transient state of the system). It took about 5 minutes for the inside
walls of the hot cylinder to heat up and start heat transfer with the enclosed air.
This was too long a duration for practical running of the engine.
Additionally while trying to crank start the engine through the flywheel
considerable effort was being required to rotate it by hand. This was partially due
to the friction of the system as well as the highly pressurized cylinders.


4.2Second test run

After the first test run failure we looked at various options to run the engine. The
heat being supplied could be increased however above 310 degree Celsius the
Teflon piston rings would melt and hence completely ruin the engine thus we had
to maintain a maximum temperature. We decided to decrease the thickness of the
hot cylinder as rate of heat transfer is directly proportional to the thickness. The
decrease of diameter by 6mm does not do any harm to the safety of the engine as
the factor of safety was already extremely high corresponding to our working
pressures F.S > 50

From the time we started planning the project initially we tried to do something
different and new instead of something that was already made. Stirling engines


are usually high price machines and hence one of our main targets was to make a
low priced one. We looked into various manufacturing methods and in the end
decided to go with modification of a V type air compressor for working as a
Stirling engine.
The reasons that our engine did not run is mainly to the material constraints that
we faced. If an aluminum cylinder was used instead of cast iron ones they would
have provided sufficient heat transfer. However:


Aluminum blocks are not ready available in the market

They have a very hefty price tag.

3. Aluminum machining is not done in local markets.


clear all;
%assigning values to the constants
dx =90;
%phase angle
Vsc = 240.707;
%Stroke volume compression
Vdc = 20.648;
%dead volume compression
%temperature of compression
fprintf('Cold temperature in degrees = %i\n', Tc-273)
Vse = 240.707;
%Stroke volume expansion
Vde = 20.648;
%dead volume expansion chamber
%temperature of expansion
fprintf('Hot temperature in degrees = %i\n', Te-273)
%regenerator volume
Tr=(Te-Tc)/ log (Te/Tc);
%regenerator temperature
fprintf('regenerator temperature is %i\n', Tr-273)
%gas constant for dry air
t= (Tc/Te);
%temperature ratio
v= (Vsc/Vse);
%swept volume ratio
%mean pressure of gas inside
Xde= (Vde/Vse);
Xdc= (Vdc/Vse);
Xr= (Vr/Vse);
a = atand (((v * sind (dx))/ (t + cosd (dx))));
S = ( t + (2*t*Xde) + ((4*t*Xr)/(1+t)) + v + (2*Xdc))
B = sqrt ( t^2 + (2*t*v* cosd (dx)) + v^2)
c= (B/S);
Pmax = 101e+003;
Pmin = 1000000000;
Vmax = 270.707;
Vmin = 1000000000;
RP = 300;
x = 0:10:360;
%where x is the crank angle in
for i = 1:length(x)
fprintf('At crank angle %i\n', x(i));
Vc(i) = ((Vsc/2) * (1 - cosd ((x(i) - dx))) + Vdc);


fprintf('The momental compression volume (Vc) is: %i\n',

Ve(i) = ((Vse/2) * (1 - cosd (x(i))) + Vde);
fprintf('The momental expansion volume (Ve) is: %i\n', Ve(i));
V(i)= Vc(i)+Ve(i)+Vdc;
fprintf('The momental total volume (V) is: %i\n', V(i));
Pr(i) = (P * sqrt(1 - c^2)) / (1 - (c * cosd (x(i) - a)));
fprintf('The pressure (Pr) is : %i\n',Pr(i));
fprintf(' ');
if (Pmax
if (Pmin


<= Pr(i))
= Pr(i);
>= Pr(i))
= Pr(i);

if (Vmax <= V(i))

Vmax = V(i);
if (Vmin >= V(i))
Vmin = V(i);

fprintf('The max volume (Pmax)in cm^3 is : %i\n',Vmax);
fprintf('The min volume (Pmin)in cm^3 is : %i\n',Vmin);
fprintf('The max pressure (Pmax)in Pascal is : %i\n',Pmax);
fprintf('The min pressure (Pmax)in Pascal is : %i\n',Pmin);
We = (P*Vse*(1/1000000)*3.14*c*sind (a))/ (1 + sqrt (1-c^2))
Wc = -(P*Vse*(1/1000000)*3.14*c*t*sind (a))/ (1 + sqrt (1-c^2))
Wi = We+Wc
Pi = Wi*RP/60
Eff= Wi/We
%Plotting two vectors (pressure and volume)
%plot (V,Pr)
%plot (x,Vc);
%plot (x,Ve)


%plot (x,Pr)
plot (x,V)
grid on;
xlabel('crank angle','FontWeight','bold');
title('Indicator Diagram for Stirling


[1] Design & Simulation of an Alpha Type Stirling Engine, Md. Reaz Mohiuddin,
Nusair Mohammed Ibn Hasan, Bangladesh University of Engineering and
Technology (BUET)
[2] How to make Stirling engines. Andy Ross.
[3] Stirling Engine Design Manual, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Conservation
and Renewable Energy, Office of Vehicle and Engine R&D
[4] Kolin, Ivo. Stirling Motor - History, Theory, Practice. Dubrovnik : Zagreb
University Publications, Ltd., 1991.
[5] Martini, W. R. Stirling Engine Design Manual. Richland : Martini engineering,
[6] I s r a e l Urieli, Sunpower, Inc., 6 Byard St., Athens, OH 45701
[7] Finkelstein T. Insights into the thermodynamic analysis of Stirling cycle
[8] Walker G. Stirling engines, Oxford Clarendon press; 1980
[9] Schmidt G. Classical analysis of Stirling engine operation. A report published in
German Engineering Union (Original German), vol. XV; 1871, p.1-12.