Use of additive manufacture and Stirling Engines as engineering education tools
The recent proliferation of low to medium cost additive manufacturing equipment opens a doorway to using the technology for aiding the education of many engineering principles. Stirling cycle engines are highly complex thermodynamic machines that, if delved into, demonstrate many mechanical engineering disciplines. Importantly fully functional engines, using safe hot and cold water as the energy source, can be made by polymer additive manufacture using commonly available materials and printing machines. This process somewhat negates the need to invest in high cost laboratory demonstration equipment. It also allows remote and poorly funded institutions or individuals to work with live equipment. This publication will demonstrate the use of additive manufactured Stirling Engines for effective teaching in creative design, optimization product development, thermodynamics, mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, live data acquisition, material science and additive manufacture.
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