Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Songgang Qiu

Committee Co-Chair

V’yacheslav Akkerman

Committee Member

V’yacheslav Akkerman

Committee Member

Hailin Li


The Stirling engines are attractive alternative for combined heat and power (CHP) systems, especially for high efficiency power generation using different heat sources. The hot side heat exchanger or heater head (HH) is one of the indispensable components of Stirling engines which transfers the heat from outside of the system into the working fluid. For development of a low cost, highly efficient and reliable CHP system, a novel HH has been designed and additively manufactured from Inconel 625. For the investigation of flow loss and heat transfer through this Stirling engine heater head, two benchtop test rigs were designed, developed, and manufactured. One rig is to evaluate flow loss in oscillating flow conditions (called flow loss test rig- FLTR) and another is to evaluate heat transfer in unidirectional flow conditions (called heat transfer test rig- HTTR). For the FLTR, a linear actuator from Parker is used to generate and maintain the oscillating flow by driving a piston in oscillatory motion. The rod and the piston are sealed against the working fluid leakage using Trelleborg seals. At room temperature, by varying the charge pressure, frequency, and stroke length, multiple test conditions were achieved for experimentation. For the HTTR, a Gast’s highflow, low-pressure compressed air blower is used to deliver the unidirectional flow. The data acquisition (DAQ) is comprised of National Instruments’ cDAQ and modules to measure piston’s motion in real time and dynamic pressure with Kistler’s pressure transducers. Presented also are the detailed testing procedures, some preliminary results, expected results from Sage, and discussion of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) outputs that were used to check against the experimentally measured data from the FLTR. Preliminary results from FLTR showed higher pressure drop across the heater head tubes when compared to the Sage and CFD predictions, and higher coefficient of friction (Cf) when compared to Sage.