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Chapter 14. Vapor and Gas Refrigeration ... > 14.15 Reversed Stirling Cycle Refrig...

14.15 Reversed Stirling Cycle Refrigeration

A reversed Stirling cycle refrigerator was first implemented by the Scottish engineer Alexander Carnegie Kirk (1830–1892) in 1862. Kirk was searching for a cooling technology that was safer than the prevailing vapor-compression machines that used explosive ether. He was aware of the engine developed by Robert Stirling in 1816 and felt that, if he put power into the engine instead of letting it produce power, the displacer piston would be cooled. With a compressor pressure ratio of 2.0, he reached an expander temperature of -13°C, and when he increased the pressure ratio to 7.0, he reached -40.°C.

A theoretical analysis of the Stirling cycle was finally carried out by I. A. Wyshnegradski in 1871. Because of its inherent safety, it was extensively used for refrigeration of food products (especially frozen meat) on ships from 1880 to 1900. The safe operation of a reversed Stirling cycle also made it ideal for use in deep mines until about 1930, when synthetic refrigerants (especially R-11 and R-12) made vapor-compression machines safer and more efficient.


  

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