Thermoacoustic prime movers are energy conversion devices which convert thermal energy into acoustic work. The devices are environmentally friendly because they do not produce any exhaust gases. In addition, they can utilize clean energy such as solar-thermal energy or waste heat from internal combustion engines as the heat sources. The output mechanical work of thermoacoustic prime movers are usually used to drive a thermoacoustic refrigerator or to generate electricity. A thermoacoustic prime mover with low critical temperature difference is desired when we intend to utilize low quality of heat sources such as waste heat and sun light. The critical temperature difference can be significantly influenced by the kinds of working gases inside the resonator and stack's channels of the device. Generally, helium gas is preferred as the working gas due to its high sound speed which together with high mean pressure will yield high acoustic power per unit volume of the device. Moreover, adding a small amount of a heavy gas to helium gas may improve the efficiency of thermoacoustic devices. This paper presents numerical study and estimation of the critical temperature differences of a standing wave thermoacoustic prime mover with various helium-based binary-mixture working gases. It is found that mixing helium (He) gas with other common gases, namely argon (Ar), nitrogen (N<inf>2</inf>), oxygen (O<inf>2</inf>), and carbon dioxide (CO<inf>2</inf>), at appropriate pressures and molar compositions, reduce the critical temperature differences to lower than those of the individual components of the gas mixtures. In addition, the optimum mole fractions of Hegas which give the minimum critical temperature differences are shifted to larger values as the pressure increases, and tends to be constant at around 0.7 when the pressure increases more than 2 MPa. However, the minimum critical temperature differences slightly increase as the pressure increases to higher than 1.5 MPa. Furthermore, we found that the lowest critical temperature difference for He-Armixture gas is around 66 °C which is achieved in pressure range of 1.5 MPa - 2.0 MPa and mole fractions of helium of 0.55 - 0.65. The He-N<inf>2</inf> and He-O<inf>2</inf> mixture gases demonstrate almost the same performances, both have the lowest critical temperature difference around 59 °C atpressures of 1.0 MPa - 1.5 MPa and helium's mole fractions of 0.35 - 0.55. For all tested gases, the lowest critical temperature difference of around 51 °C is provided by He-CO<inf>2</inf> mixture gas at pressures of 0.5 MPa - 1.0 MPa with helium's mole fractions of 0.15 - 0.40.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)