Thing: The Stirling Engine

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    The Engine itself, pictured here, does very little. Left alone above a hot surface (e.g. a radiator or a cup of tea), it simply pistons up and down, round and round until the surface cools down.

    The beauty of the Engine is in what it represents. The revolutions of the brass flywheel are driven solely by the difference in temperature between 2 metal plates, and the natural cooling-heating cycle of a small space of constantly-disrupted air.

    Energy is given off as heat all around us, all the time. I find the Stirling Engine fascinating purely as a visual reminder that energy doesn't always have to come from a faraway country or a huge company. It's right under our noses.

    (More information from the Wikipedia article and How Stuff Works. Engine in photo from Kontax, via Julie.)

    Pittam, taylorkoa22, creativejuice, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Pittam ages ago | reply

      Excellent photo and it's good to read the description as well.

      Well done..

    2. OddZen [deleted] ages ago | reply

      I like the description... but it was the picture that stole my attention. Well-lit, with beautiful shadows.

    3. .scribe ages ago | reply

      Thanks for the comments...
      Technically, if you stood the engine on a cold enough surface with the ray of sunlight in the picture warming the top, it should keep going.

      I think that's why I like this picture - the motion represented by the engine (the shutter speed was too fast to capture it revolving) can come from the same source that provides the nice shadows you see. No difference between art and science after all :)

    4. Alexander De Block [deleted] 113 months ago | reply

      Wonderful picture!

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