Cool $20 Gift for the Guy who has Everything

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Comments

  • The_Master, FYI Stirling engines can be very efficient if they are operated across a large temperature differential, such as several thousand degrees. They are theoretically more efficient than steam engines because you don't lose the power driving the working fluid across its phase change (boiling it). And their advantage over internal combustion engines is that, being external combustion, they can use any heat source.

    The down side of Stirling engines is power density, unless the working fluid is at very high pressure. Boiling water wastes energy to create the steam but you can get a lot of steam from a little water; in a Stirling, the working fluid is always a gas and so you have what you have to exert forces on the power cylinder.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,357
    My brother has a different/better/costlier version of this $20 Sterling engine. It has a metal upper plate (plastic in the cheapie) which transfers heat more efficiently. He says it will run just off the heat from his hand.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Request a video from him!
    The greatest thing about logic is that, once you have followed the thought train, it is then your own.
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