Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sun to Stirling engine to generator to NiMH to car

Solar Stirling Engine Racer
I'm not sure if you caught it, but yesterday, I declared this holiday season to be The Year of the Physics Toy. (One perk of having your own blog is that you get to make random proclamations like that.) You have got to check this toy out: it combines solar energy, a rhombic geared drive train, a Stirling engine, a generator, and a motorized car in one system. I defy you to NOT learn some physics from this toy.

About the Solar Stirling Engine Racer:
A 11"-diameter parabolic mirror reflects sunlight onto the Stirling engine, heating its glass tube and causing the air inside to expand and contract. The expansion and contraction of air forces the piston to move up and down and powers the movement of its gears and rhombic drive--the same heat-to-work conversions that powered Robert Stirling's original engine in 1816. The Stirling Engine powers a small generator located in its translucent assembly, which in turn recharges the racer's AAA NiMH battery. The rear-wheeled drive racer has a geared transmission and operates for five minutes after a three-hour charge.

Here's where to get the solar Stirling engine racer.

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