Pre-design Investigation of Resonant Frequency Effects on Gas Exchange Efficiencies of a One-kW Natural-Gas Linear Engine Alternator
Performance of a natural gas two-stroke engine incorporated in a 1-kW free-piston oscillating Linear Engine Alternator (LEA) - a household electricity generator - was investigated under different resonant frequencies for pre-design phase purposes. To increase the robustness, power density, and thermal efficiencies, the crank mechanism in free-piston LEA is omitted and all moving parts of the generator operate at a fixed resonant frequency. Flexure springs are the main source of the LEA’s stiffness and the mass-spring dynamics dominates the engine’s speed. The trade-off between the engine’s performance, mass-spring system limits, and power and efficiency targets versus the LEA speed is very crucial and demands a careful investigation specifically at the concept design stages to find the optimum design parameters and operating conditions. CFD modeling was performed to analyze the effects of resonant frequency on the engine’s gas exchange behavior.