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Piezoelectrically Driven Thermoacoustic Refrigerator

Thermoacoustic refrigeration is an emerging refrigeration technology which does not require any moving parts or harmful refrigerants in its operation. This technology uses acoustic waves to pump heat across a temperature gradient. The vast majority of thermoacoustic refrigerators to date have used electromagnetic loudspeakers to generate the acoustic input.

In this study, the design, construction, operation, and modeling of a piezoelectrically-driven thermoacoustic refrigerator are detailed. This refrigerator demonstrates the effectiveness of piezoelectric actuation in moving 0.3 W of heat across an 18 degree C temperature difference with an input power of 7.6 W.

The performance characteristics of this class of thermoacoustic-piezoelectric refrigerators are modeled by using DeltaEC software and the predictions are experimentally validated. The obtained results confirm the validity of the developed model.

Furthermore, the potential of piezoelectric actuation as effective means for driving thermoacoustic refrigerators is demonstrated as compared to the conventional electromagnetic loudspeakers which are heavy and require high actuation energy.
Source: University of Maryland
Author: Daniel George Chinn

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