Optimisation and Characterisation of a Curved Bimetallic Blade and its Performance Within a Thermal Motor
Angel, Geoffrey Dennis
In most flat bimetallic strip applications, the bending is employed in the transverse direction, that is, upon the application of uniform heating to the entire strip, the initially straight strip bends transversely up from the flat plane. This study is concerned with a pre-curved bimetallic strip that upon heating up from the ambient, straightens up along the chord line tending to become flatter. The initial ambient radius of curvature of the strip is smaller, and upon heating, the radius of curvature becomes larger. By mounting the curved bimetallic strip with a rotational degree of freedom at each end, and fixing one end against displacement, a chord line displacement of the free end of the strip occurs when the strip is uniformly heated. It is this chord line case that this work investigates and characterises. This work provides a way of evaluating the net combined axial loading case whereby an external load is applied to the free end of the strip as it uniformly heated. The main application of this work is for the characterisation of a curved bimetallic blade within a thermal motor. This is a novel device for converting renewable heat energy into mechanical energy and power as part of a larger energy harvesting network. The curved bimetallic strip with minor modifications, functions as a curved bimetallic blade within the thermal motor. The application of this work has a wider impact, in that it can be used in any other temperature induced force and displacement applications. Thus as a result of this investigation, a new form of linear actuator has been created that can utilise an input heat differential, and produce an output axial force and displacement. The displacements and forces generated by the axial case can be quite large, and as a result of this work, relatively easy to calculate, when designing a thermally driven linear actuator. The thermal motor, which possesses the curved bimetallic strip at the heart of its mechanism, can also be powered by other secondary heating sources such exhaust, or waste heat, that would otherwise be lost to the surroundings.