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Description of a High-Efficiency Floating-Piston Expander for a Miniature Cryocooler

[+] Author Affiliations
J. L. Smith, Jr., J. G. Brisson, M. J. Traum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

C. Hannon, J. Gerstmann

Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc., Watertown, MA

Paper No. IMECE2002-33402, pp. 425-429; 5 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Advanced Energy Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3626-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


A cryogenic expander employing low-temperature helium is under development. This expander employs a floating piston operating between a warm variable volume and a cold variable volume to expand the working fluid. The piston’s position is dynamically regulated through an active control routine that actuates electromechanical valves. These valves control helium flow in and out of the variable volumes. Throttling through the warm-end valves regulates the piston’s velocity. The cold-end valves, operating at cryogenic temperatures, are of novel design to achieve system miniaturization and high efficiency at range of operating points.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME
Topics: Pistons



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