A new regenerator matrix design that improves the efficiency of a Stirling engine has been developed in a numerical study of the existing SM5 Stirling engine. A new, detailed, one-dimensional Stirling engine model that delivers results in good agreement with experimental data was used for mapping the per- formance of the engine, for mapping the effects of regenerator matrix temperature oscillations, and for optimising the regenerator design. The regenerator matrix temperatures were found to oscillate in two modes. The first mode was oscillation of a nearly linear axial matrix temperature profile while the second mode bended the ends of the axial matrix temperature profile when gas flowed into the regenerator with a temperature significantly different from the matrix temperature. The first mode of oscillation improved the efficiency of the engine but the second mode reduced both the work output and efficiency of the engine. A new regenerator with three differently designed matrix sections that amplified the first mode of oscillation and reduced the second improved the e?ciency of the engine from the current 32.9 to 33.2% with a 3% decrease in power output. An efficiency of 33.0% was achievable with uniform regenerator matrix properties.
Energy Conversion and Management, 2006, Vol 47, Issue 7-8, p. 894-908