Developing a new modeling method for liquid piston stirling engines using thermal-hydraulic code

Open Access
Kriebel, Andrew T
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Andrew Michael Erdman, Thesis Supervisor
  • Domenic Adam Santavicca, Honors Advisor
  • stirling
  • engine
  • liquid piston
  • fluidyne
  • solar
  • water pump
  • modeling
  • computer
  • trace
  • snap
  • lpse
For developing and remote regions of the world, solar powered water pumps provide relief to the usually physical and time intensive task of gathering water. Heat engines are a low-cost alternative to photovoltaic solar cells for providing power for water pumping with concentrated solar energy. Theoretically the most efficient type of heat engine, stirling engines are designed around the stirling cycle [1]. Liquid piston stirling engines are one variant that are particularly useful for water pumping. This variant substitutes oscillating columns of liquid for mechanical pistons. Liquid pistons allow for a tighter piston seal and more efficient designs for heat transfer [8]. In addition, liquid pistons allow the work output of the engine to be directly applied for the pumping of water. This goal of this paper is to advance the development process of liquid piston stirling engines by validating a new, simpler computer modeling technique. Using the SNAP platform and TRACE thermal-hydraulic computational code developed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I develop and document a method for modeling and testing liquid piston stirling engines through a graphical interface, finite volume solver with pre and post processing capabilities. This method greatly reduces the time and cost of traditional modeling purposes either through mathematical equations or physical prototyping. Future researchers and developers can use SNAP/TRACE confidently to model and test liquid piston stirling engine designs.