Stirling Engines – Energy from fire and ice!

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Stirling Engines

Stirling Engines (Stirling Motors) are pretty cool. I bought 2 recently to see how Stirling Engines work, but really just to muck around with. You can see these things as Stirling Engine Generators because they generate mechanical movement from heat, something that isn’t too common. It’s really cool to see how they can convert differences in temperature to mechanical energy right in-front of your eyes. I think these are great ideas for Christmas gifts (hint hint ;)), or just to buy for yourself if you like cool things!

Sunnytech low temperature sterling engine

Stirling Engine In Action – Video

In the below video, I do a nice Sunnytech Stirling engine model unboxing then demonstrate how two different types of Stirling Engines work. I use hot water as the first experiment (with a coffee cup mug). For the second experiment I use some ice to get the Stirling motor to generate movement through cooling. In the final experiment I use some pure fire (candle flame fire) to activate the larger Stirling motor for some mechanical work! It doesnít matter if itís hot or cold, just that thereís a temperature difference from the ambient environment around you! The second one gets some great speed and can light up an LED quite easily from the power it generates.


These are some seriously cool gadgets, perfect for gifts (or not 🙂 ). My Stirling engine now sits on my desk at work and people love to talk about it! It makes for a cool physics experiment and is a nice example for heat energy transfer.


Buy Stirling Engines

Stirling Engine 1 in the video above is the Sunnytech Low Temperature Stirling Engine which you can buy here. Stirling Engine 2 is the “Sunnytech Hot Air Stirling Engine” which you can buy here.

How does a Stirling Engine work?

A Stirling engine (also commonly referred to a Stirling motor) is basically an engine that runs from heat energy. It works by cyclic expansion and compression of fluid (usually air) at different temperatures. This difference (delta) in temperatures between parts of the system forms the expansion and compression of the fluid, which creates mechanical motion to turn wheels or push gears, with a regenerator (heat exchange) within the system. They are considered to be high efficiency comparted to steam engines, reaching up to 50% efficiency. Stirling Engines usually operate quite quietly and from lots of different heat sources. You can read more about Stirling Engines here.

Sunnytech low temperature stirling engine

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