“How can we describe the operation of a Stirling Engine?”
Stirling Engines are very interesting machines. However, how exactly can we describe how they operate? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. First, let’s start with an isothermal expansion in which the working fluid is heated by an external source in Phase 1. Then, let’s go through a constant volume heat removal by passing the working fluid through a regenerator in Phase 2. Afterwards, the system should undergo an isothermal compression in Phase 3. This will lead up to Phase 4, a constant volume heat addition bringing the working fluid back to the beginning of the Stirling Cycle. Stirling cycles operate much like Carnot cycles except that their heat addition/removal process is constant volume.