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Topic: External Combustion Engine Design

Name: Milos Ilak and Jesse Hartigan

Advisor: Carr Everbach

The purpose of this project is three-fold:

  1. To understand the principles underlying external combustion engines and the challenges in building them.
  2. To design, build and test a functional external combustion engine.
  3. To investigate possible applications of our engine.

The motivation behind this project is the emerging need for alternative energy sources. The recent wave of technological development in the field of energy systems has included external combustion engines as promising power sources for future applications. One such example is the Stirling engine as an alternative automotive power source.

We plan to study different heat engine cycles and choose the cycle that promises an innovative and practical design. Once the design has been chosen, software will be used (e.g. FEMLAB, MATLAB) to simulate our engine and carry out relevant structural and thermal analysis. We hope to have built a basic prototype by the end of this semester, and a second, enhanced engine by the end of the year.

General Design Goals:

  1. Robustness & simplicity. Specifically, this means minimizing the number of frictional elements in the engine.
  2. Adequate Power Output for practical applications. Examples of such applications include driving a small water pump and powering a model airplane.
  3. Clear advantage over present solutions, and at least one innovative feature. For example, an engine that meets efficiency standards in a given application, and is cleaner than competing engines.