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Stirling engine

A Stirling engine, named after Robert Stirling, clergyman and inventor of what he called an "air engine", is a type of engine that creates a time-phase relationship between hot and cold temperatures to move a piston, that is harnessed to provide power. Patented in 1816, Stirling's engines couldn't explode (like steam engines ) and produced more power than the steam engines of the time. Stirling engines are also used as a fast cooling device, using a motor to move the piston making the engine very cold.

From a new (1998) patent by John Kerwin, Dean Kamen, and others:

"A Stirling machine having two pistons coupled to a harmonic crank drive linkage for providing a specified phase relationship between sinusoidal displacements of each piston with respect to a fixed fiducial point. The harmonic crank drive linkage has a primary crankshaft and an eccentric crankshaft mounted internally to the primary crankshaft and coupled via a gear set to counterrotate with respect to the primary crankshaft. The eccentric crankshaft may be cantilevered with respect to the primary shaft, with the pistons of the engine coupled to the eccentric crankshaft externally to the supporting bearings. A flywheel coupled to the eccentric crankshaft provides for operation of the engine with a zero net angular momentum. [Zero net angular momentum would be very handy for a vehicle that had to balance on two wheels. It also is a good way to reduce vibration and make the engine easier to control.-bhv] An intake manifold provides for mixing air and fuel for combustion heating of the engine."

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