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Design of a Stirling Thermocompressor for a Pneumatically Actuated Ankle-Foot Orthosis

[+] Author Affiliations
Nithin S. Kumar, Mark E. Hofacker, Eric J. Barth

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Paper No. DSCC2013-3995, pp. V001T09A004; 9 pages
  • ASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference
  • Volume 1: Aerial Vehicles; Aerospace Control; Alternative Energy; Automotive Control Systems; Battery Systems; Beams and Flexible Structures; Biologically-Inspired Control and its Applications; Bio-Medical and Bio-Mechanical Systems; Biomedical Robots and Rehab; Bipeds and Locomotion; Control Design Methods for Adv. Powertrain Systems and Components; Control of Adv. Combustion Engines, Building Energy Systems, Mechanical Systems; Control, Monitoring, and Energy Harvesting of Vibratory Systems
  • Palo Alto, California, USA, October 21–23, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5612-3
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


This paper presents the design, modeling, and simulated performance of a prototype Stirling thermocompressor. The thermocompressor is intended to be mounted on the back of a user’s lower leg and convert a hydrocarbon fuel source into 50 W of pneumatic power at 650 kPa to power an ankle foot orthosis. Consisting only of a displacer piston, the Stirling thermocompressor’s displacer piston motion is directly controlled by a brushless DC motor so that the frequency of operation can be tuned to output the maximum power. Simulation indicates that this operating frequency is influenced by the intended reservoir pressure and heat transfer properties of the thermocompressor.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Design , Ejectors , Orthotics



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