Thermoacoustic compressors utilize a thermoacoustic engine
and a positive displacement reciprocating compressor.
 used the CFX finite volume model to study a traveling-wave thermoacoustic engine. They concluded that CFD codes could be used in the future to predict and optimize thermoacoustic systems.
Spoelstra, "Simulation of a traveling-wave thermoacoustic engine using computational fluid dynamics," The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol.
Unlike an internal-combustion engine, a thermoacoustic engine needs two heat exchangers to maintain the temperature gradient across the regenerator.
To minimize the amount of hardware at the hot temperature, a short thermal buffer tube is used adjacent to the hot heat exchanger in a traveling-wave thermoacoustic engine. This is simply an unobstructed tube through which acoustic power can flow, but with careful attention to flow straightening at the ends, so the oscillating gas motion within it is thermally stratified.
In a thermoacoustic engine
, heat is converted to high intensity sound waves that can be harvested effectively into electricity.
A sampling of topics: dynamic energy absorption of circular honeycomb under in-plane impact loading, the effect of thermal properties of building glass on cooling energy consumption of buildings, integrated manufacturing of free-form surfaces, and a network model approach for investigation of regenerator on characteristic impedance in thermoacoustic engine
, to name just a few.
Now researchers are developing alternative equipment that uses the environmentally benign gas helium and thermoacoustic engine
The Penn State team has also built a solar-powered thermoacoustic engine
that produces 120 decibels of sound, which may drive a thermoacoustic ice maker in the near future, and another unit that looks and operates much like a domestic refrigerator.
One of these, the thermoacoustic engine
, was covered in the Aug.