Additive Metal Manufactured Stirling Engine

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Abstract Summary

Additive manufacturing of metals (AMM) is an emerging technology capable of producing complex geometries having significant advantages compared to subtractive machining, including up to 95% reduction in number of parts in subassemblies [1], 88% reduced lead times [2], and 40% reduced part weights [1,3]. Although offering significant manufacturing advantages, conventional AMM processes such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM) are relatively expensive and require extensive safety systems. A recently-developed and -commercialized AMM process, Bound Metal Deposition (BMD), seeks to address these concerns. BMD consists of three steps: (1) extrusion of a metal powder-binder filament to form a green-state part; (2) debinding the majority of the binder from the metal powder to form a brown-state part; and (3) sintering the metal powders to form the solid, sintered part. This research seeks to explore the capabilities and constraints of BMD by designing and manufacturing a functioning beta-type Stirling engine. A functioning Stirling engine converts temperature differences to mechanical work and contains many design challenges for BMD, including sliding interfaces that must seal pressure differentials, heat transfer, differential thermal expansion, and wear surfaces. Results will include design considerations, printer precision and accuracy, post processing requirements, thermo-mechanical characterization, and a financial analysis. Although BMD offers the opportunity for many companies to leverage AMM for economic development, companies are slow to adopt new technology due to uncertainties. This work is significant in that BMD processes are explored and characterized, thus allowing more companies to understand and adopt this exciting technology.


Figure 1: Rendered picture of the final design of the Stirling engine

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Engineering & Information Sciences
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AM1 (9:30 - 10:30)