Tuesday, September 23, 2014

STEAM Engine

Our rallying cry for the new Science and Innovation Center has been STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), and now the class has had the chance to stand at the confluence of a few of those subjects. Our physics teacher, Jon, has asked us to print out a few parts for a Stirling Cycle Engine - a highly efficient, closed-loop engine.

The class arranged the parts on the build plate in two sets - the first set pictured here; parts were downloaded from Thingiverse. You can clearly see the cylinder body along with other parts - the Stirling uses a "displacer" as well as a piston; the top of the displacer is the larger disk opposite the cylinder body on the build plate.

The Stirling uses the difference in temperature between the gases in the chamber and a pair of plates, which are the aluminum parts mentioned in the video - there is a hot plate (on the bottom) and a cold plate (on the top); a variety of energy sources can be used to create the temperature differential. Once the flywheel is set in motion, very little energy is needed to keep the engine running.

The whole thing makes more sense if you download and study the assembly drawings. We'll release and clean the parts and give them to Jon's class. Can't wait to see the thing in action.