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Active control of thermoacoustic amplification in an annular engine

Abstract : In this paper, a new method is proposed to control the thermoacoustic amplification in thermoacoustic engines. This method, based on the active control of the spatial distribution of the acoustic field by means of auxiliary acoustic sources, is applied here to an annular thermoacoustic engine. Two auxiliary acoustic sources are used to tune the spatial distribution of the sound field in the engine in such a way that the thermal-to-acoustic energy conversion occurring into the thermoacoustic core is maximized. An experimental study of this device is proposed, which should be considered as a proof-of-concept study, aiming at demonstrating that the addition of auxiliary acoustic sources can be used advantageously to improve the efficiency of thermoacoustic engines. The overall device is characterized below and above the onset of thermoacoustic instability. It is demonstrated that below the onset of thermoacoustic instability, there exists an optimum phase shift between the auxiliary sources which maximizes the acoustic power available in the annular waveguide. When the device is operated above the onset of thermoacoustic instability, it is demonstrated that the appropriate tuning of the two auxiliary sources enables to improve significantly the acoustic work produced into the engine compared to the case without active control, that the additional output acoustic power is significantly larger than the input electric power supplied to the acoustic sources, and that the overall efficiency of the engine is thus significantly increased. A discussion about the applicability of this new method for the improvement of actual, high power thermoacoustic engines is also provided.
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Cyril Desjouy, Guillaume Penelet, Pierrick Lotton. Active control of thermoacoustic amplification in an annular engine. Journal of Applied Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2010, 108 (11), pp.114904. ⟨10.1063/1.3512962⟩. ⟨hal-02057432⟩

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