Analytical investigation of a novel gas refrigeration cycle with a constant volume flow-through regenerator
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The renewed interest in gas refrigeration cycles that operate with non-chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) working fluids, has been stimulated by the current phase-out of CFC refrigerants commonly used in vapor compression refrigeration and heat pump systems. The so-called Stirling heat pump is a gas technology that has recently received attention, due to the fact that the COP of the ideal Stirling cycle is that of the corresponding Carnot cycle. Present Stirling technology uses reciprocating components, but due to a recently patented concept for constant volume flow-through regeneration gas cycles that operate in a flow-through manner may become feasible. Constant volume flow-through regeneration is accomplished by confining the gaseous working fluids in constant volume passageways created by radial vanes that are mounted in a slotted rotor that rotates inside a circular housing. Heat transfer between the working fluid streams is caused by an intermediate, counter flowing heat transfer medium. A new analysis of so-called Stirling cycle refrigeration systems is presented that provides a better characterization of the thermodynamic processes occurring in such devices than prior treatments of the subject. Both imperfect regeneration and the inability to compress or expand the working fluid isothermally are accounted for in this analysis. The true performance envelope for such gas cycles is demonstrated. It is also shown that the thermodynamic processes in current Stirling devices more closely resemble the regenerative Brayton cycle than the ideal Stirling cycle.
author list (cited authors)
Kelly, J. E., Shapiro, H. N., & Pate, M. B.