Optimal performance of regenerative cryocoolers.

Author(s) : BOER P. C. T. de

Type of article: Article


The key component of a regenerative cryocooler is its regenerative heat exchanger. This device is subject to losses due to imperfect heat transfer between the regenerator material and the gas, as well as due to viscous dissipation. The relative magnitudes of these losses can be characterized by the ratio of the Stanton number St to the Fanning friction factor f. Using available data for the ratio St/f, results are developed for the optimal cooling rate and Carnot efficiency. The variations of pressure and temperature are taken to be sinusoidal in time, and to have small amplitudes. The results are applied to the case of the Stirling cryocooler, with flow being generated by pistons at both sides of the regenerator. The performance is found to be close to optimal at large ratio of the warm space volume to the regenerator void volume. The results are also applied to the Orifice Pulse Tube Refrigerator. In this case, optimal performance additionally requires a large ratio of the regenerator void volume to the cold space volume.



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