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Washington, D.C., November 1521, 2003

Proceedings of IMECE03

2003 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition

IMECE2003-41306

IMECE2003-41306

OF THE THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

By

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL 62901

f frequency of oscillation, (Hz)

Thermoacoustic refrigeration systems utilize h heat transfer coefficient, (W/m2 K)

high intensity sound waves and the k thermal conductivity, (W / m K)

interactions with solid boundaries to create L length (m)

temperature gradient, heat pumping and M Mach number

consequent cooling. In this study, a P perimeter (m)

thermoacoustic refrigeration system was Re Reynolds number (dimensionless)

designed and constructed. The stack was s surface area (m2)

fabricated from a thermoplastic material to T temperature, (K)

reduce conduction in the direction opposite Tb base temperature of the fin, (K)

to heat pumping. The direction of the stack T gas free stream or time averaged

plates perpendicular to the thickness was temperature, (K)

lined with an aluminum material to increase x axial coordinate, (dimensionless)

the heat transfer in this direction. A study y axial coordinate, (dimensionless)

on the oscillatory flow heat transfer at the change

heat exchangers was performed using k thermal penetration depth, (m)

helium as the working gas. Some important wavelength, (m)

factors that influence the heat transfer temperature (K)

coefficient in oscillatory fluid flow and

density, (kg/m3)

relations to stack fabrication were identified.

angular frequency, (2f)

NOMENCLATURE

INTRODUCTION

cp specific heat at constant pressure,

A number of thermoacoustic systems have

(J/kg K)

been designed, constructed and reported.

D diameter, (m)

Also, some heat transfer studies in the amplitude of the oscillating velocity is

system have been reported. In a greater than the time-mean flow. This is

comprehensive article, Swift [1] different from a pulsating flow in which the

documented a review and in-depth flow direction never reverses and the

description of thermoacoustic physics. amplitude of the oscillating velocity is less

Previous work related to this study includes than the time-mean flow velocity. Iwabuchi

that by Adeff and Hoffler [2] on the design and Kanzaka [10] carried out experiments to

and construction of a solar-powered investigate the heat transfer on a

thermoacoustically driven thermoacoustic reciprocating flow in a set-up that was

refrigerator. Herman and Wetzel [3, 4] designed to obtain data for a particular

developed a thermoacoustic model, reported prototype engine and presented the heat

on the design optimization of the models transfer data in terms of piston speed, mean

and recommended areas for more research. pressure and phase difference between the

Minner et al. [5] evaluated the performance opposing pistons.

of a thermoacoustic refrigerator and found

that the choice of working fluid and the heat Mozurkewich [11] developed a one-

exchanger configuration were critical design dimensional model for transverse heat

factors affecting the performance of the transfer in parallel thermoacoustic pores,

system. A report on an experimental study and Aniruddha et al [12] reported that the

carried out by Bai et al. [6] discussed the optimization of heat exchanger size and

effect of the working fluid, resonator length, location relating to the stack could improve

charging pressure and heating temperature the performance of the stack significantly.

on the performance of the thermoacoustic Mozurkewich [13] tested three heat

prime mover. For the determination of the exchanger configurations located at the hot

appropriate working gas for use in the end of a thermoacoustic stack and showed

system, Belcher et al [7] studied working that the time-average steady-flow equivalent

gases suitable for use in thermoacoustic approximation could be applied in the

systems and stated that the best working analysis of thermoacoustic heat exchangers,

gases for thermoacoustic refrigeration which consist of transversely oriented tubes.

should have high ratios of specific heats and Ishikawa and Hobson [14] presented an

low Prandtl numbers. Tijani et al [8, 9], expression for optimum dimensionless heat

designed, constructed and tested a exchanger area, and developed a design

thermoacoustic refrigerator and described method to obtain the optimum surface area

some design procedures, selection of of thermoacoustic heat exchangers.

parameters, components optimization and

fabrication techniques. In this study, a thermoacoustic refrigeration

system was designed and constructed with

Regarding the oscillatory flow around the the experimental accessories and data

heat exchangers, of the thermoacoustic acquisition system using information from

system, it should be noted that although an published reports. The stack was fabricated

oscillatory flow can either be a reciprocating from a thermoplastic material to reduce

flow or a pulsating flow, the flow on the conduction in the direction opposite to heat

outside of the heat exchangers of the pumping. The direction of the stack plates

thermoacoustic refrigeration system is a perpendicular to the thickness was lined

reciprocating flow. In this type of flow, the with an aluminum material to increase the

direction reverses periodically and the heat transfer in this direction. A study on

the oscillatory flow heat transfer at the heat

exchangers was performed. Results from Dynamic Pr essure Amplitude

the study identified some important Dr = (1)

Mean Pr essure

parameters that influence oscillatory fluid

flow heat transfer rate.

of 0.02 was selected to satisfy M < 0.1 and

SUMMARY OF THE DESIGN AND Re < 500. Thermal penetration depth k

CONSTRUCTION was calculated using the equation

2k

Figure 1 shows a schematic of the system. k = (2)

The major components are the acoustic c p

driver, the resonator, a stack, the heat

exchangers and the working gas. The An optimized / 4 length, resonator tube,

schematic of the experimental setup is introduced by Hofler [15], was adopted for

shown in figure 3. The auxiliary this study, but a cone-shaped buffer was

components include the audio frequency substituted for the sphere in order to produce

generator, power amplifier, pressure

transducers and gauges, thermocouples, an Table 1. Design and operating

oscilloscope and the data acquisition system. parameters and properties under

operating conditions.

Some of the design and operating

parameters and properties are listed in Table PROPERTY OR VALUE

1. The desired cooling power, the PARAMETER

temperature difference between the hot heat Mean Pressure 5.06625 bar

exchanger and the cold heat exchanger, and Cooling Power 5W

the operating frequency of the system were Gas Thermal 0.146 W/m K

some of the critical items selected for the Conductivity

design. Gas Density 0.8845 kg/m3

Speed of sound in gas 978.1 m/s

Gas Specific heat (cp) 5193 J/kg K

Gas Dynamic 188 x 10-7 N s/m2

Viscosity

Gas Prandtl number 0.667

Gas Thermal 3.19 x 10-5 m2/s

Diffusivity

Diameter of the 0.0318 m

smaller portion of the

resonator tube

Figure 1 Schematic of the Diameter of the larger 0.0589 m

Thermoacoustic Refrigeration System. portion of the

resonator tube

The acoustic Mach number M was limited Stack length 0.0845 m

to M 0.1 to eliminate nonlinear effects [1] Length of the large 0.13127 m

and the Reynolds number was also limited portion (l)

to less than 500 to avoid turbulence [8]. The Length of the cold 0.34 m

drive ratio, defined as portion

an open-end condition [8]. Helium was fin. To obtain an expression for the heat

selected as the working gas for the design. transfer coefficient h along the plate, a

The choice was influenced by the study, number of assumptions were introduced. It

Belcher et al [7], which made is assumed that the fin has the same fin base

recommendations on the suitability of temperature Tb at both ends due to the

working gases used in thermoacoustic symmetric geometry of the heat exchanger.

refrigeration systems. The acoustic driver The working gas is assumed to be an ideal

was selected to provide the required total gas. A small part of the fin, shown shaded

acoustic power within a wide range of in figure (b) was used as the control volume

frequency and drive ratios. The resonator for the analysis. Equation (3) gives the

was constructed from aluminum tubing but energy balance for the control volume

with plastic tubing at the inner diameter

portion to reduce heat loss by conduction.

dT dT

The stack was fabricated from a ks + hPdx(T T ) = ks (3)

thermoplastic material to reduce conduction dx x dx x + x

The direction of the stack plates

perpendicular to the thickness was lined

with an aluminum material to increase the

heat transfer in this direction. The heat

exchangers consist of copper fins soldered to

aluminum flange. From the inlet and outlet

temperatures of flowing water, the heat

added to or removed from the heat

exchangers was calculated. Data acquisition

was through input signals from

thermocouples and pressure transducers fed

to a data acquisition system connected to a

personal computer.

EXCHANGERS

Figure 2 shows the geometry of the heat Figure 2 Schematic of the Heat Transfer

exchanger and a single plate of the heat from the Fin of the Hot Heat Exchanger.

exchanger. Figure (a) shows the overall

arrangement of the fins and geometry of the Equation (3) can be rearranged to give

heat exchanger, (b) shows a single fin of the d 2

heat exchanger and (c) illustrates the control 2

m 2 = 0 (4)

dx

volume for the analysis. The width of a hP

single fin is 6.6 mm and the thickness is where = T ( x ) T and m 2 =

0.15 mm. The oscillating gas flow with ks

The solution of equation (4) is

time-averaged temperature T flows across

the fins in the x direction. The fin has a

= C1e mx + C 2e mx (5)

temperature distribution T(x) along the fin,

where x is the distance from the base of the

where C1 and C2 are constants which are An Endevco model 8510C-100 pressure

determined by the boundary conditions. The transducer was used to measure the dynamic

constants C1 and C2 were obtained as: pressure. The pressure transducer was

mounted on the aluminum flange by

threading and O-ring sealing. The data

b (1 e mL )

C1 = (6)

e mL e mL

b (e mL 1)

C2 = (7)

e mL e mL

where b = Tb T

obtained as:

Figure 3 Schematic of the experimental

hP

hP

e

x x

Tb T ks

e ks

+ (8) facility.

T ( x ) = T +

hP

hP

hP

(L x)

hP

(L x)

e

L L

e ks

e ks

ks

e ks

acquisition consisted of a PCI-773-T board

with 16 differential analog inputs and Wave

Except the heat transfer coefficient (h), all View for windows software. The

the variables in equation (8) can be thermocouples were mounted on the

determined or measured directly from terminal panel. An acrylic block Omega

experiments. Thus h can be obtained using flow meter was used to measure the flow

experimental results. rate of water through the heat exchangers.

EXPERIMENTAL SETUP Figure 4 shows the location of the

thermocouples inside the system. Three

The experimental facility, which includes

the gas charging system, the test section,

instruments, and the data acquisition system,

was set up as shown in figure 3. The

working gas was charged and discharged

through the gas charging system. The

charging system was connected to a vacuum

pump and a pressurized working gas tank

with appropriate valves so that each of them

can be used as desired. The test section can

be operated under various working

conditions that include different pressures

and operating frequencies. Instruments Figure 4. Location of the thermocouples

include thermocouples, pressure transducers, inside the system.

oscilloscope and flow meters. The data

acquisition system receives signals from the thermocouples were installed at the hot heat

thermocouples and the pressure transducers. exchanger. One was mounted at the base of

the fin (shown in the diagram as location

No. 5) to measure base temperature Tb . The appears to be a parabolic relationship

second thermocouple which measures T(x) between h and f at constant mean pressure.

is mounted at a variable point x, a specific The heat transfer coefficient h increases with

distance x from the base of the fin (shown f at constant mean pressure until h reaches a

in the diagram at this point as location No. maximum value at some value of f before it

6). The third thermocouple, (located in the starts to decrease. This indicates that there

gas flow away from the fin) measures T . is a critical value of frequency for a given

mean pressure outside of which the heat

A total of ten thermocouples were used to

transfer coefficient will not increase. This

collect temperatures at different locations in

maximum value of f is the resonant

the system. All the thermocouples are

frequency and results show that it also

Omega Type T. The thermocouples could

increases with mean pressure. The heat

measure temperatures in the range of 200

transfer drops significantly if the

C to 350 C. The standard error for the

thermoacoustic refrigerator does not operate

thermocouples is 0.75%, if the temperature

at the resonance frequency.

is above 0 C and 1.5% if the temperature is

below 0 C.

The acoustic heat transfer coefficient for the

system increases with increasing mean

With the measurements of Tb , T(x) and T pressure and operating frequency up to the

the convection heat transfer coefficient h

could be determined by using equation (8).

180

Two thermocouples were installed at both

ends of the stack to measure the 160

heat transfer coefficient (W/sq-m-K)

stack while one thermocouple was located in 120

the middle of the stack. Location of this

2 bar

thermocouple is variable. The temperature 100

3 bar

of the acoustic driver was monitored by one 80 4 bar

thermocouple mounted at the surface of the 60

driver. Two thermocouples were used to

40

measure the inlet and outlet temperatures of

the cooling water. 20

0

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 200 250 300 350 400 450 500

frequency (Hz)

factors affecting the heat transfer at different

operating conditions. The expression from Figure 5. Heat transfer coefficient h

which the heat transfer coefficient (h) was versus frequency at different operating

determined is given by equation (8). Figure pressures.

5 shows the relationship between the heat

transfer coefficient, the mean pressure and critical value of frequency (or resonant

the operating frequency. The experimental frequency). Thus higher operating pressures

results for h versus frequency (f) for at critical frequency are desired for the

different operating pressures are shown in system. However, it is to be noted that the

the figure. The results show that within the thermal penetration depth depends on the

limits of the experimental studies, there thermophysical properties of the working

gas and the operating frequency. Increase in Society of America, 84, No.4, pp. 1145

the mean pressure or the operating - 1180.

frequency results in decreasing the thermal

penetration depth, which determines the 2. Adeff, J. A., and Hofler, T. J., 2000

spacing of the stack. It is difficult to Design and construction of a solar-

fabricate a stack with very small plate powered, thermoacoustically driven,

spacing. Therefore, a compromise between thermoacoustic refrigerator, Journal

heat transfer coefficient at the heat of the Acoustical Society of America,

exchangers and stack fabrication has to be 107, No. 6, pp. L37 L42.

considered in the design, fabrication,

operation and performance of the 3. Herman, C and Wetzel, M, 1995,

thermoacoustic refrigerating system. Design of a thermoacoustic

refrigerator- a case study, AES

CONCLUSIONS Publication, 35 pp. 195-203.

system was designed and constructed with Parameter spaces and design

the experimental accessories and the data optimization of thermoacoustic

acquisition system. The major components refrigerators, AES Publication,

of the system are the electroacoustic driver, proceeding of 1996 ASME, 36 pp.

the resonator, a stack, the heat exchangers 355-363.

and the working gas. The stack was

fabricated from a thermoplastic material to 5. Minner, B. L., Braun, J. E., and

reduce conduction in the direction opposite Mongeau, L. G., 1997 Theoretical

to heat pumping. The direction of the stack Evaluation for the Optimal

plates perpendicular to the thickness was Performance of a Thermoacoustic

lined with an aluminum material to increase Refrigerator, ASHRAE Transactions

the heat transfer in this direction. Proceedings of the Winter Meeting,

January 26-29, 1997, 103, No.1, pp.

Oscillatory flow heat transfer at the heat 873 887.

exchangers was studied using helium as the

working gas. The results show the 6. Bai, X., Jin, T., and Chen, G. B., 1998

relationship between the oscillatory heat Experimental Study on a

transfer coefficient at the heat exchangers, Thermoacoustic Prime Mover,

the mean pressure and frequency. Higher Proceedings of the Conference on

mean pressures result in greater heat transfer Cryogenics and Refrigeration, ICCR,

coefficients if the thermoacoustic Hangzhou, China, pp. 522 525.

refrigerating system operates at the

corresponding resonance frequency. 7. Belcher, J. R., Slaton, W. V., Raspet,

However, a compromise has to be reached to R., Bass, H. F., and Lightfoot, J., 1999

accommodate stack fabrication. Working Gases in Thermoacoustic

Engines, Journal of the Acoustical

REFERENCES Society of America, 105, No. 5, pp.

2677 2684.

1. Swift, G, 1988, Thermoacoustic

Engines, Journal of Acoustical

8. Tijani, M. E. H., Zeegers, J. C. H. and 15. Hofler, T. J. 1986 Thermoacoustic

Waele, A. T. A. M., 2002 Design of refrigerator design and performance,

thermoacoustic refrigerators, Journal PhD Dissertation, Physics Department,

of Cryogenics, 42, pp.49 - 57. University of California at San Diego,

1986.

9. Tijani, M. E. H., Zeegers, J. C. H. and

Waele, A. T. A. M., 2002

Construction and Performance of a

thermoacoustic refrigerator, Journal

of Cryogenics, 42, pp.59-66.

Experimental Investigation into Heat

Transfer Under Periodically Reversing

Flow Condition in a Heated Tube,

Journal of Mechanical Engineers,

C24/82, pp. 135-139.

transverse heat transfer in

thermoacoustics, The Journal of the

Acoustical Society of America, 103,

No. 6, pp. 3318 - 3326.

Rupert, K., 1999 Numerical study of

oscillatory flow and heat transfer in a

loaded thermoacoustic stack, Journal

of Numerical Heat Transfer, Part A,

35, pp. 49 - 65.

from transverse tubes adjacent to a

thermoacoustic stack, The Journal of

the Acoustical Society of American,

110, No. 2, pp. 841 847.

Optimization of heat exchanger

design in a thermoacoustic engine

using a second law analysis,

International Communications in Heat

and Mass Transfer, 23, No. 3, pp. 325 -

334.

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