A Stirling engine is a heat engine that operates by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gases at different temperatures, such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. Originally conceived in 1816 as an industrial prime mover to rival the steam engine, its practical use was largely confined to low-power domestic applications for over a century. Stirling engines have a high efficiency compared to steam engines, being able to reach 50% efficiency. They are also capable of quiet operation and can use almost any heat source. The heat energy source is generated external to the Stirling engine rather than by internal combustion as with the Otto cycle or Diesel cycle engines. Because the Stirling engine is compatible with alternative and renewable energy sources it could become increasingly significant as the price of conventional fuels rises, and also in light of concerns such as depletion of oil supplies and climate change.
This particular high-quality desktop Stirling Engine is pre-built, and ready to start generating power from an external heat source right out of the box - all you need to provide is a source of fire and alcohol for the candle. The fuel source is safely secured in a recessed well on the glossy-finish wooden base. When the engine is in motion, a set of lights on the side will illuminate. An excellent classroom tool for demonstrating the properties of thermodynamics, as heat energy is converted into mechanical and electrical energy. Makes an excellent purchase for physics teachers, or a unique desk-toy gift for scientifically-inclined minds.
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