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Ulf Sjostrom received his M.Sc.

degree in 1983 and the Licentiate degree of Technology in 1986 from Linkoping
University, Sweden. Between 1986 and 1991, he was a Research Associate at the Institut d e ]Microtechnique, at the
University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he received his Ph.D in 1991. During 1991, he joined the Department
of Microwave Technology at the Swedish Defence Research Establishment (FOA) in Linkoping, Sweden, where he
was working on ASIC implementation aspects of front-end signal processing systems. Since October 1996, he is
employed as a Senior Spcxialist on digital signal processing in ASIC at Ericsson Radio Systems AB in Stockholm,


Book Review
Build Yourself a Stirling Engine
An Introduction to Stirling Engines,
An Introduction to Low-Temperature Differential Stirling Engines

by James R. Senft
Reviewed by Henry Oman, Editor-in-Chief
In 1816,26-year-oId Robert Stirling, one year out of divinity
school and just ordained into his first parish, invented a
closed-cycle engine in which air is the working fluid. A few years
later Sadi Carnot developed the theoty of thermodynamics which
relates the efficiency of an engine to the difference between the
heat-source and heat-sink temperatures, measuredl in absolute
units. Any engine that violates the Carnot-cycle-efficiency
produces perpetual motion. The Stirling engine is one of the few
engines that can theoretically achieve Carnot-cycle efficiency.
Gasoline, diesel, and gas turbines can not.
In his book, A n Introduction to Stirling Engines, Senft
explains the operation of the Stirling engine with simple
illustrations, like Figure 1.With these diagrams he follows the
progress of engines, and explains the thermodynamics with
pressure-volume diagrams. Then come drawings, cross sections,
and sketches of Stirling engines, starting with the mine-pumping
pressurized engine built by the Stirling brothers in 1843. A
reproduced 1915 advertisement shows a woman being cooled by a
$11.50 Stirling-engine driven fan.
Recent Stirling engines have been heated with concentrated
sunshine. One was fueled with rice hulls in a rice-processing plant.
Stirling engine powered automobiles were built, but their
acceleration was limited by the limited quickness with which
heat-transfer through a diaphragm could be increased. In the new
hybrid electric vehicles, the engine runs at constant power and a
battery delivers power for acceleration and peak loads. There the
high-efficiency Stirling engine can increase the milles-per-gallon of
fuel consumption, and hence reduce the injection of carbon
dioxide into our atmosphere. Also, the combustion occurs at
atmospheric pressure, and clean-burning fuels without anti-knock
additives can be used.
In his second book, Senft describes the principles and history of
engines that run on low temperature differences. meP-19,
completed in 1990, runs on a temperature difference of one
degree centigrade. A cold drink placed on the heat-sink plate runs
the engine for an hour. He then describes the N-92 which starts

IEEE AES Systems Magazine, November 1997


Fig. 1. Connecting the Displacer Rod1 and Piston to Cranks

which are 90out of phase automates the cycle
to make a version of Stirling engine known as the
Split-Cylinder Type. A flywheel is necessary
to sustain operation during the transfer strokes.
operating with a temperature difference of 1.8C (3F) which is
obtained by placing the engine on the palm of your hand.
Instructions and drawings for making such an engine follow.
Both books are published by Moriya Press, PO Box 384, River
Falls, W I 54022. The Zntroductwnto Stirling Engines costs
$12.00, postpaid in the US, but $4.00 postage elsewhere;
Ynh-oductwn to Low Temperature Differenl?al Engines costs $12.95,
plus $1.00 shipping and handling in the US, and $4.00 elsewhere.