The Desktop Stirling Engine.
This desktop Stirling engine is powered by the expansion and compression of air when heated and cooled, and uses the same simple yet elegant dynamics as the Stirling engines from the Industrial Revolution. Invented in 1816 by the Reverend Dr. Stirling to create a safer, more efficient alternative to steam engine boilers, the Stirling engine is still taught in mechanical engineering courses at leading universities to demonstrate the high efficiency, quiet operation, and heat utilization of closed-cycle regenerative heat engines. The desktop engine is fueled by an alcohol burner that heats the front of the glass tube, causing the air inside to expand and push the horizontal piston toward the chamber. This movement displaces some of the warm air into the metal chamber where it continues to expand, forcing the vertical piston upward. The pistons are connected to the flywheel with a system of levers and pulleys, causing the flywheel to spin up to 5,000 rpm and enabling the sequence to repeat until the flame is put out. Handmade in Germany, the desktop engine is made from solid brass plated in 24-karat gold, and its glass cylinder and piston are designed to minimize friction, eliminating the need for lubrication. 4" H x 2 1/3" W x 5 1/2" L. (1 lb.)