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Control of a Standing-Wave Thermoacoustic Refrigerator

[+] Author Affiliations
Tim Ryan, Laura A. Schaefer, Jeffrey S. Vipperman

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. IMECE2010-38966, pp. 283-289; 7 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 13: Sound, Vibration and Design
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4450-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


A demonstration thermoacoustic refrigerator was used to test the effectiveness of three operating frequency control schemes. The goal was to determine which control scheme would be most beneficial in terms of efficiency when a driver and resonator are mismatched as may be the case where manufacturing tolerances are involved. The first control scheme was a phase-locked loop, which is the type of control most often used in the literature; the second and third were a gradient ascent algorithm applied to root-mean-squared acoustic pressure and time-averaged acoustic power supplied to the resonator, respectively. The controllers, each operating on a different parameter associated with a strong thermoacoutic effect, were simulated using an identified model of the plant, and adjustments were made to the controller parameters. Finally, the controllers were applied to the test bed device. The performance comparison of the controllers was based on thermoacoustic efficiency, electroacoustic efficiency, and electrothermal efficiency. The phase-locked loop was found to perform better thermoacoustically, but the acoustic pressure gradient ascent control performed better in terms of electroacoustic and electrothermal performance. The acoustic power gradient ascent controller resulted in the thermoacoustic core producing the most steady-state cooling power.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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