Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1534

Performance of Additive Manufactured Stacks in a Small Scale Thermoacoustic Heat Engine 2019-01-1534

Standing wave thermoacoustic engines (TAEs) rely on the presence of a porous component, the "stack", where a temperature gradient is established and quasi-adiabatic heat exchanges occur between the gas in standing waves and the solid walls. The geometry and the heat conduction properties of the stack have a tremendous impact on the efficiency of the thermal-to-acoustic power conversion. Three different stacks, provided with different internal geometries, have been produced by using Selective Laser Melting (SLM), an additive manufacturing (AM) technique designed to use high power-density laser to melt and fuse metallic powders together. The three stacks are provided with parallel plates, with longitudinal pin array and with oblique pin array, respectively. The SLM provides precise control of the features of the printed object, thus allowing to explore geometries which are difficult to manufacture with conventional technologies but at the same time more effective in the heat exchange process. This is the case of the pin array and oblique pin array geometries, since these ones provide smaller amount of viscous losses when working fluids with Prandtl number (Pr) <1, e.g. air. In order to compare the behavior of the three stacks, the temperature of the hot face of the stacks at the onset of the thermoacoustic phenomenon, the temperature gradient between the hot and cold faces of the stacks and the acoustic field within the engine resonator are measured and compared.


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