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A Thermoacoustic Engine Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Evan Wind, Dave Wattenford, Paul Sisneros, R. S. Amano, Pradeep Mohan Mohan Das

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Paper No. DETC2011-47067, pp. 291-297; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 31st Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5479-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


This paper discusses basic standing wave theory as it relates to thermoacoustics as well as the design, construction, and testing of a simple thermoacoustic engine based upon these principles. This paper covers the design, construction, and testing of a proof-of-concept engine to demonstrate the possibility of converting heat energy into mechanical energy via sound waves. A Soundhauss tube was constructed and tested to demonstrate the fundamental principles of acoustic resonance within a single closed-ended tube upon which the engine function is based. Fundamental frequency calculations are performed for the particular setup as well as stack design and thermal penetration depth calculations. With society’s current focus on human impact upon the environment, renewable sources of energy, and the inability for current energy grid systems to fulfill needs for remote and developing civilizations at feasible cost, the development of the Thermoacoustic Engine is a pursuit worth exploring. Thermoacoustic Engines harbor few or no moving parts, consist of simple components with low manufacturing overhead, and utilize 100% environmentally safe materials and gases. The engine essentially uses heat to create sound, and sound to create electricity or motion. The operational requirements are very lax which allows for a wide range of design possibilities. This relative simplicity of progression from source to output is what gives the engine its potential for mass adoption; particularly in areas conventional means of energy distribution have struggled to reach.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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