A Microfabricated Segmented-Involute-Foil Regenerator for Enhancing Reliability and Performance of Stirling Engines: Phase II Final Report for the Radioisotope Power Conversion Technology NRA Contract NAS3-03124
An actual-size microfabricated regenerator comprised of a stack of 42 disks, 19 mm diameter and 0.25 mm thick, with layers of microscopic, segmented, involute-shaped flow channels was fabricated and tested. The geometry resembles layers of uniformly-spaced segmented-parallel-plates, except the plates are curved. Each disk was made from electro-plated nickel using the LiGA process. This regenerator had feature sizes close to those required for an actual Stirling engine but the overall regenerator dimensions were sized for the NASA/Sunpower oscillating-flow regenerator test rig. Testing in the oscillating-flow test rig showed the regenerator performed extremely well, significantly better than currently used random-fiber material, producing the highest figures of merit ever recorded for any regenerator tested in that rig over its ~20 years of use.
Ibrahim, Mounir B.; Danila, Daniel; Simon, Terrence; Mantell, Susan; Sun, Liyong; Gedeon, David; Qiu, Songgang; Wood, Gary; Kelly, Kevin; and McLean, Jeffrey, "A Microfabricated Segmented-Involute-Foil Regenerator for Enhancing Reliability and Performance of Stirling Engines: Phase II Final Report for the Radioisotope Power Conversion Technology NRA Contract NAS3-03124" (2007). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Publications. 265.