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By Theodor Finkelstein
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The expansion takes place at a generally elevated temperature, giving a surplus of work over the preceding (low-temperature) compression. The regenerator now returns to its starting point (d to a) with overall volume constant, so that no work is involved. Thus a Stirling engine is a system whereby the total volume of a gas is periodically altered by means of one or more pistons, while successive transfers of the working fluid between two spaces at different temperatures is via a regenerator. 2 Working principle The operation of the Stirling engine shown in Fig.
1834a and b) that the working principle was similar to that of the constant-pressure cycle, as applied by Joule in a reversed form of refrigeration. Though Ericsson himself was not very satisfied with the results, it caused a great sensation when it was exhibited and even evoked the following lyrical remarks from Sir Richard Phillips (1833): ‘ . with a handful of fuel applied to the very sensitive medium of atmospheric air and a most ingenious disposition of its differential powers, he beheld a resulting action in narrow compass, capable of extension to as great forces as ever can be wielded or used by men .
1875, Donkin 1911). 4 Degenerate Stirling engines – double-cylinder types Stirling’s working principle was used in many different engines built after 1860 in a number of countries. At first most of these used Stirling’s second design of 1827, placing the power piston in a separate cylinder, but without making this piston double-acting as in the original prototype. This resulted in a singlecycle, two-piston, two-cylinder construction – and a somewhat lower mechanical efficiency than Stirling’s own two-cycle, three-piston, threecylinder design of 1827, and much lower efficiency and output than Stirling’s first single-cycle, double-piston, single-cylinder construction of 1816.