Classroom Project: DIY Stirling Engine

Stirling Engine example courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 Stirling engine example (“Ericsson style hot air engine” by Rob Skinner on

This past week, we had the president of Cool Energy, Sam Weaver, speak to us at work about his commercial Stirling engines. I had known about Stirling engines for a while but was unsure on their specific operation. Sam gave a great talk along with an educational demonstration of a small, tabletop engine.

That’s when it dawned on me. What about having students build their own version of a tabletop Stirling engine? It’s a great way to show how the expansion and contraction of a gas can be transformed into rotational energy. Continue reading