This research paper focuses on the performance prediction and its validation via experimental investigation of a Stirling-type pulse tube refrigerator (PTR) equipped with a cold linear compressor. When the working gas is compressed at cryogenic temperature, the acoustic power (PV power) can be directly transmitted through the regenerator to the pulsating tube without experiencing unnecessary precooling process. The required PV power generated by the linear compressor, furthermore, can be significantly diminished due to the relatively small specific volume of the working gas at low temperature. The PTR can reach lower temperature efficiently with higher heat lift at the corresponding temperature than other typical single-stage Stirling-type PTRs. Utilizing a cryogenic reservoir as a warm-end and regulating the entire operating temperature range of the PTR will enable a PTR to operate efficiently under space environment.
In this research, the experimental validation as a proof of concept was carried out to demonstrate the capability of PTR operating between 80 K and 40 K. The linear compressor was submerged in a liquid nitrogen bath and the lowest temperature was measured as 38.5 K. The test results were analyzed to identify loss mechanisms with the simple numerical computation (linear model) which considers the dynamic characteristics of the cold linear compressor with thermo-hydraulic governing equations for each of sub components of the PTR. All the mass flows and pressure waves were assumed to be sinusoidal.