Join 3,422 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Our friend, the Stirling engine.
June 26, 2003 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Are you familiar with the Stirling engine? The Stirling engine creates a rotational force from the expansion and contraction of air heated by an external heat source. Due to the external, controlled nature of combustion they have potential application in eco-friendly power or where silent operation is desirable. Best of all, Stirling engines are simple to construct and can be pieced together from common household goods. If you're looking for something a bit more attractive, there are plenty of kits and preassembled units available. Thanks, Reverend Stirling!
posted by jammer (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Stirling engines are cool. One of the "one-up" games engineers play is building a sterling engine that needs the least amount of heat to turn. To even get in the league, you had better make one that runs on the heat transferred from your own hand. Best I saw was one that balanced on a fingertip, and ran. (slowly)
posted by eriko at 8:20 AM on June 26, 2003


I bet you first heard of stirling engines because of "IT"...come on, admit it!
posted by taumeson at 8:29 AM on June 26, 2003


Awesome! Although if you live in New York, you just might not have copper pipe lying around the house. I wonder if you can build one out of Chinese take-away packaging?
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2003


Crazy religious kooks and their engines.
posted by weston at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2003


I bet you first heard of stirling engines because of "IT"...come on, admit it!

I actually first heard of them from Twine42
posted by Pollomacho at 12:57 PM on June 26, 2003


Also discussed here.
posted by languagehat at 1:05 PM on June 26, 2003


Stirling engines have too slow of a startup time to be popular.

1 or 2 minutes of sitting about doing nothing in the car doesn't seem like a big deal, but with today's anti-idling laws, environmentalists have made this engine unviable. Ironic, really -- I hope they're happy!
posted by shepd at 1:17 PM on June 26, 2003


Pollomacho,

A better thread to point to is this one with animations of various engines, including Sterling.

Ah yes, back in the good old days of 2002 when I could follow most of the threads.
posted by john at 1:23 PM on June 26, 2003


It would be if that was where I had actually first heard of them, but it was the Twine42 post that clued me in. Good links on your version though!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2003


Ah yes, back in the good old days of 2002 when I could follow most of the threads.

Hell, i've had problems doing that since 2001. :)
posted by jammer at 2:13 PM on June 26, 2003


I bet you first heard of stirling engines because of "IT"...come on, admit it!

Not only that, but when I heard about it, I shit my pants.
posted by soyjoy at 2:26 PM on June 26, 2003


Stirling engines have too slow of a startup time to be popular

Would they be good, though, as the fuel-burn-ey part of a hybrid, or would the gains over modern IC engines be too small? For that matter, would a turbine be good paired with electrics?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:41 PM on June 26, 2003


And if I had a couple million dollars, could I get someone to build a car with a stirling engine for me?
posted by Hildago at 3:40 PM on June 26, 2003


And if I had a couple million dollars, could I get someone to build a car with a stirling engine for me?

No amount of dollars would suffice. You would of course need... WAIT FOR IT....

pounds stirling.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:40 PM on June 26, 2003 [1 favorite]


Quick question: Would a Stirling engine made of Sterling be possible? A Sterling Stirling?

Ok, I'll do it for you...

*groan*
posted by thanotopsis at 7:17 PM on June 26, 2003


Thanatopsis: Yes, it would.

*blinks*
posted by tss at 9:27 PM on June 26, 2003


Ah, but what about the Stanley Steamer?

Efficient, practical, economical. I wonder if today, it could be adapted to use fuel cells and electric heat? Computer aided design can work miracles.

Around only 25 moving parts, and even back when could hit speeds of around 75 mph!
posted by kablam at 9:36 PM on June 26, 2003


What if Sterling made your car with a sterling stirling, a Sterling sterling stirling? Oh, this has gone too far.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:09 PM on June 27, 2003


Would steering be a challenge in a Sterling sterling stirling?

If so, what kind of driving record would you need to use one?
posted by weston at 7:00 PM on June 27, 2003


« Older Ethics cost money...  |  Supreme Court wisely rules tha... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments