To complete an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, I had to complete the senior design course where we propose, design, and fabricate a project that demonstrates our knowledge. I led our team in designing an external heat engine. The engine is similar to an alpha-type Stirling engine without a displacer piston.
Our project was successful because of our modular approach to the design. We were able to adjust crank length, TDC and BDC positions, nozzles, as well as the hot chamber. All components were designed and hand machined from scrap aluminum in our departments shop.
Six other teams had attempted to build stirling engines or other varions in the past; we are proud because we are the first team at of Tennessee Tech to successfully build a working external heat engine.