Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
Thermoacoustic heat engines show much promise for the conversion of heat of waste heat to electricity. This paper presents developments that lead to optimization of such devices for a variety of applications needing thermal management. Heat engines in the mid-audio, at 2 kHz, and the low ultrasonic range, 24 kHz, were developed. Studies were made of heat transfer within the engines, thermal coupling to outside sources and power density. In some applications it would be beneficial to have arrays, especially when the devices are small; their synchronization can lead to increased power output. The generated sound is converted to electricity by piezoelectric devices.