The Stirling engine is particularly well suited for explaining the general principle of the heat engine as the technical implementation of a thermodynamic cyclic process. The different temperature levels needed for a cyclic process are clearly visible with the Stirling engine in the same way as the closed process cycle. A video shows a Stirling engine in operation. The construction and functioning are explained on the basis of schematic drawings. The ideal efficiency is derived from the p-V diagram and compared with the actual efficiency. Through comparison with other cyclic processes (Otto, Diesel, Clausius-Rankine) the p-V diagram of the Stirling cyclic process promotes the better understanding of other piston engines (Otto engine, diesel engine and steam engine). Finally, the use of the Stirling engine is presented, especially in connection with the use of regenerative energies. Particularly in modern solar thermal plants the Stirling engine is frequently used for the generation of electric power.
Information and ideas:
Why was the Stirling engine not adopted for powering vehicles?
Learning resource type:
Grade 5 to 6; Grade 7 to 9; Grade 10 to 13
Energy; Energy supply; Engine; Physics; Power generation; Stirling, Robert
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MediaHouse GmbH using material from: Björn Appel, Username Warden (Applications/photo: EURODish; license: CC BY-SA 3.0 unported)
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