This Stirling engine is the perfect size to have as a desk toy, measuring only 6” in length and 3” in width. It weighs in at just under 1 lb, and has non-skid rubber feet at its base to prevent it from moving around, and all of the rotating components of this Stirling engine are precision machined to prevent any instability or wobbling from the rotating components when the engine is running at full speed.
The generator in this Stirling engine is connected to a multi-colored LED that also has long wires leading from it, so you can connect other low-power electronics to this generator! The recommended fuel for this Stirling engine is 70% Isopropyl alcohol or higher, although any flammable liquid can be used to power this Stirling engine. Please exercise caution when using flammable liquids in order to prevent fires.
How do I use it?
In order to use this Stirling engine, carefully fill the small glass container with the fuel of your choice, and make sure that end of the wick is submerged in the fuel, and only a small portion of the wick is exposed. For the best performance, please make sure that there's a gap in between the wick and the glass tube used in the hot air side. Once the container is filled with fuel gently place the container in the recessed hole in the base of the Stirling engine. Make sure that there is no spilled fuel and that the wick is not in contact with the glass tube.
Once the small container with fuel has been placed into its recessed hole, carefully light the wick. Once the fuel is burning, then allow the flame to burn for 15-20 seconds to heat up the glass tube. Once that time has passed, rotate the flywheel away from the center of the Stirling engine. If it doesn't spin on its own, continue spinning the flywheel until the Stirling Engine is able to continue spinning on its own.
To stop the Stirling engine, simply blow out the flame and the Stirling engine will stop spinning on its own.
Tools and spare parts are included with this kit in order to ensure that this product will become a long lasting and welcome addition to your desk.
What is a Stirling Engine and how does it work?
Stirling engines are a seldom used way of converting heat to movement that are actually much more efficient at generating power from heat energy than a standard internal combustion engine. The greater the difference between the temperature from the hot and the cold side is, the more efficient the Stirling engine will be! The basic principle of a Stirling engine is that there are two pistons that are connected via a small tube that allows air to flow between the two pistons. In the case of this Stirling engine, one of the pistons is exposed to a heat source, the hot side, and the other is cooled using the ambient air temperature, the cold side. At the beginning of the cycle, the heated air expands to push out the piston and then when the piston reaches out as far as it can, the air then moves to the cool piston of the Stirling engine. The previously hot and expanded air then cools and contracts the cold piston, and the momentum from this action both draws the cooler air from the cold side into the hot side, and then compresses it. The heat from the flame then heats and expands and pushes the piston back out, completing the cycle.
Stirling engines are fantastic for showing that it’s possible to generate motion from something as simple as the difference in temperature from hot and cold air. What makes Stirling engines so unique is that they use a fixed amount of gas, so there are no valves, intakes, or exhaust generated from the Stirling cycle. Because of how efficient Stirling engines can be, there are even Stirling engines that can work with just the heat generated from your hand!