Turbo Charged Stirling Engine
A machining class (2.670) focused on building a stirling engine. Modified engines were allowed and I felt confident I could beat the school record of 1,700 RPM. Top speed could be measured at any point in the run, and all the energy had to come from the engine itself. The turbo charger pictured here used a small motor from a VCR to charge a 40F bank of capacitors (40 Farads!). A transmission allowed the selection of different gear ratios as the capacitors charged. After charging, the generator was disengaged and a gear on a large motor (takeout from an RC car) meshed with a gear on the flywheel. A switch dumped the capacitors through the motor. Conservative energy calculations predicted a top speed of 18,000 RPM! However, the capacitors only charged to 0.9V instead of 5V--a result of incorrect gearing and no time to test. The turbo charger only added 100 RPM. It was some consolation that it won Best of Show.
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