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Stirling Cryocooler


Experimental test equipment plays a crucial role in the curriculum of ME 495 Experimental Methods Lab. Design of a Stirling Cooling apparatus that would serve as a demonstration model has been requested by our client, Dr. David Trevas. As one of the contributing Professors to the senior level ME495 Laboratory at Northern Arizona University, Dr. Trevas is interested in the creation of an experiment that requires future students to investigate the thermodynamic cycle that is utilized by Stirling technology. Importance was placed on a benchtop scale Stirling cooler model that has variable inputs of energy sources, working gas types, and temperature output. Stakeholders include future mechanical engineering students, the mechanical engineering faculty of Northern Arizona University (NAU), and similar laboratory-based courses in thermodynamics and fluid-dynamics at other universities. Design of experiments, as required by the course, includes a general property or process related to the measurement of fluids and temperature. Techniques involving the collection of data, methods of quantifying data, and replication of industrial applications as they relate to the Stirling cycle can be incorporated in this project. Contemporary issues that inspire investigations into alternative methods of refrigeration that safely and effectively achieve customer requirements was the primary intention of this project. Stirling cryocoolers are widely used in many industries and offer efficient cooling solutions without potentially hazardous refrigerants or large electrical consumption. The following sections describe this project, list customer and engineering requirements, mention existing designs, suggest possible new designs, and finally describes the resulting design selection for construction