The aim of the research in this paper is a second law analysis of a Stirling cryocooler. A one-dimensional model is proposed for the simulation of the gas flow in the expansion space, the regenerator, the warm-end, the compression space and the compressor. Helium gas is selected as the working medium. An algorithm has been developed considering parametrically the most from the main operational tasks of the thermodynamic cycle.
Performance indices such as heat input, efficiency, external dimensions of the engine and technical requirements are taken into account as constraints. Engine operating parameters i.e. speed, external temperature, mean pressure are fixed. The regenerator loss has a critical influence on the cryocooler efficiency and the reduction of this kind of internal irreversibilities is extremely difficult due to the generator is subject to rapidly cycling flows accompanied by steep temperature gradients and large pressure variations.
The second flow analysis of the regenerator identifies two principal losses, the irreversible internal heat transfer into the solid matrix and the hydraulic resistance. An optimization technique leads to entropy generation charts, extremely useful for a good design of the regenerator.
Finally the main thermodynamic characteristics (net refrigeration, power input and the coefficient of performance) of the cryocooler are given both cases with and without external and internal irreversibilities.