An asymmetrical constriction in a pipe functions as an imperfect gas diode for acoustic oscillations of gas in the pipe. One or more gas diodes in a loop of pipe create substantial steady flow, which can carry substantial heat between a remote heat exchanger and a thermoacoustic or Stirling engine or refrigerator; the loop’s flow is driven directly by the oscillations in the engine or refrigerator itself. This invention gives Stirling and thermoacoustic devices unprecedented flexibility, and may lead to Stirling engines of unprecedented power. We have built two of these self-circulating heat exchangers, one for fundamental tests and the other as a demonstration of practical levels of heat transfer. Measurements of flow and heat transfer are in factor-of-two agreement with either of two simple calculation methods. One calculation method treats the oscillating and steady flows as independent and simply superimposed, except in the gas diodes. The other method accounts for the interaction between the oscillating and steady flow with the quasi-steady approximation. The mutual influence of superimposed turbulent oscillating and steady flows is a theoretical challenge.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.