Experiments on the Thermodynamic Performance of a “U-Tube” Pulse Tube Expander

  • C. S. Kirkconnell
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 43)


As has been extensively discussed in the literature, pulse tube cryocoolers have numerous advantages over other closed-cycle coolers which arise from the absence of moving parts in the pulse tube expander. Advantages in the areas of cost and reliability are of interest to the user community in general, and the additional advantage of cold-tip vibration minimization is of particular importance for cooling applications in electro-optical (E-O) systems for it leads to unique system integration advantages. For example, the low vibration of the expander may make it possible to mount the focal plane directly on the cold tip, eliminating the thermal strap required when using other types of expanders. The ‘U-Tube’ configuration is particularly convenient from the standpoint of system integration because the cold region extends as a tip from a single warm end heat exchanger, unlike the linear pulse tube (LPT) in which the cold region is bounded on either side by warm regions of the expander. A U-Tube expander was recently constructed and tested, and the thermodynamic efficiency was seen to be comparable to that of the LPT design. At an operating temperature of 77K, a cooling capacity of 2.9 W was measured for an input P-V power of 84 W. The expander design and experimental data are discussed.


Heat Exchanger Pulse Tube Thermodynamic Efficiency Surge Tank Pulse Tube Refrigerator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    W.E. Gifford and R.C. Longsworth, Pulse tube refrigeration progress, in: “Advances in Cryogenic Engineering,” vol. 10, (1965), p. 69.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E.I. Mikulin, A.A. Tarasov, and M.P. Shkrebyonock, Low-temperature expansion pulse tubes, in: “Advances in Cryogenic Engineering,” vol. 29, (1965), p. 629.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. Zhu, P. Wu, Z. Chen, W. Zhu, and Y. Zhou, A single stage double inlet pulse tube refrigerator capable of reaching 42 K, Cryogenics 30 suppl., p. 257, (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. Wang, S.Q. Wang, J.H. Cai, and Z. Yuan, Experimental study of multi-bypass pulse-tube refrigerator, Cryogenics 35:555, (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    P. Kittel, A. Kashani, J.M. Lee, and P.R. Roach, General pulse tube theory, Cryogenics 36:849, (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    P. Curlier, Cryocooler technologies: 2. Pulse tube miniature cryocoolers, SPIE 2552:791.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Liang, A. Ravex, and P. Rolland, Study on pulse tube refrigeration, Part 3: Experimental verification, Cryogenics 36:101, (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S.C. Russo and G.R. Pruitt, Development of a Low Cost Cryocooler for HTS applications, accepted for publication in “Cryocoolers 9.”Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J.M. Lee, P. Kittel, K.D. Timmerhaus, and R. Radebaugh, Steady secondary momentum and enthalpy streaming in the pulse tube refrigerator, in: “Cryocoolers 8”, R.G. Ross, Jr., ed., Plenum Press, NY (1995), p. 359.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    J.R. Olson and G.W. Swift, Acoustic streaming in pulse tube refrigerators: Tapered pulse tubes, to be published.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    C.S. Kirkconnell, S.C. Soloski, and K.D. Price, Experiments on the effects of pulse tube geometry on PTR performance, accepted for publication in “Cryocoolers 9.”Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    C.S. Kirkconnell. “Numerical Analysis of the Mass Flow and Thermal Behavior in High-Frequency Pulse Tubes,” Ph. D. thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, CA (1995).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    K.D. Price, private communication (1994).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. S. Kirkconnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Hughes Aircraft CompanyEl SegundoUSA

Personalised recommendations