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Model and Subcomponent Development for a Pulse-Combustor-Driven Microgenerator

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Final technical rept. 1 Sep 1998-31 May 2004

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This project focused on an investigation of the feasibility of pulse-combustion-based micro heat engines for electrical power generation. The micro heat engines to be studied are based on a reciprocating free piston that is driven by a periodic pulse combustion process, resulting in high levels of integration of the mechanical and electrical functionality of the engine i.e., the same piston performs both the fuel-to-mechanical energy conversion as well as the mechanical-to-electrical energy conversion. Other than the reciprocating piston, the only other moving parts in the engine are optional fuel control and passive flapper mixing valves. For the first three years of the program the major emphasis was on performing modeling and numerical simulations of the pulse combustors and free piston generator and the development of magnetic generator topology. The issues that are addressed in this report include small-scale pulse combustion phenomena and modeling of combustion in high surface-to-volume ratio environments design of ultracompact permanent-magnet-based and non-permanent-magnet-based variable reluctance generators and selection of appropriate materials and fabrication sequences for the realization of the various subcomponents of the generator using micromachining technology as appropriate. In the final two years of the program the emphasis switched to fabrication and testing of critical subcomponents to assess the advantages and limitations of the application of micromachining technology to the fabrication of microgenerator subcomponents. 2 tables, 71 figures, numerous refs.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric Power Production and Distribution
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Combustion and Ignition
  • Reciprocating and Rotating Engines

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