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Published On: Mon, Feb 10th, 2014

How Stirling engine works explained with video animation.

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Please read the entire article and the video animation to learn about the amazingly designed engine.

The Stirling engine is a type of heat engine, its design and efficiency makes it unique. It was invented by Mr. Robert Stirling in 1816.

How Stirling engine works video from our own YouTube channel is embedded below, it’s a Stirling engine animation video clearly explaining its working.


Components of Stirling engine:
1. Rotating disc
2. Engine cylinder
3. Displacer piston
4. Power piston
5. Kerosene or Alcohol burner
6. Links (connecting rotating disc and pistons)

Basic working principle for Stirling engine:
This engine works with the basic principle of expansion and compression of gas when heated and cooled.
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How Stirling engine works in detail:

1. Working of displacer piston.
As shown in the figure on the left side of the displacer piston, the air will be hot as kerosene burner is heating it and the right side of the displacer piston air is cold. The hotter region, as the air expands. It exerts a pressure on to the displacer piston resulting in it to move. When the displacer piston gets displaced, due to this the colder air at the left side gets pumped up to the right side through the clearance at top and bottom of the displacer piston (see the video animation). This cycle continuous and the displacer piston displaced the hot and the cold air continuously. The hot air moving to the rear (right) gets cooler and the cold air moving to the front (left) gets heated up. Thus the function of the displacer piston is to move the gas from both the ends (hot to cold and cold to hot)

2. Working of power piston.
The power piston moves and adjusts the internal gas volume as the displacer piston and gas moves. During this movement, it absorbs the power and gives it to the rotating disc. That’s why it’s called power piston.

3. How links and disc works.
The links and disc’s works together with the displacer and power pistons. The displacer and power piston and independently connected to different links which are intern connected to the rotating disc.

4. Working of Kerosene or Alcohol burner.
Its function is to heat the air at the front end of the displacer piston.

You can also have a look at the below video to get a clarity on its working. Engineering and school students can make working model of Stirling engine as a part of their academic projects. It will be a great learning experience. If you want any help feel free to drop a comment to reach out to us.

Working model of a Stirling engine :

More topics on Stirling engine like Stirling engine efficiency derivation, Stirling engine efficiency calculation will be published shortly.

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