Misencik, J. A.; Titran, R. H.
The heater head tubes of current prototype automotive Stirling engines are fabricated from alloy N-155, an alloy which contains 20 percent cobalt. Because the United States imports over 90 percent of the cobalt used in this country and resource supplies could not meet the demand imposed by automotive applications of cobalt in the heater head (tubes plus cylinders and regenerator housings), it is imperative that substitute alloys free of cobalt be identified. The research described herein focused on the heater head tubes. Sixteen alloys (15 potential substitutes plus the 20 percent Co N-155 alloy) were evaluated in the form of thin wall tubing in the NASA Lewis Research Center Stirling simulator materials diesel fuel fired test rigs. Tubes filled with either hydrogen doped with 1 percent CO2 or with helium at a gas pressure of 15 MPa and a temperature of 820 C were cyclic endurance tested for times up to 3500 hr. Results showed that two iron-nickel base superalloys, CG-27 and Pyromet 901 survived the 3500 hr endurance test. The remaining alloys failed by creep-rupture at times less than 3000 hr, however, several other alloys had superior lives to N-155. Results further showed that doping the hydrogen working fluid with 1 vol % CO2 is an effective means of reducing hydrogen permeability through all the alloy tubes investigated.
Schuon, S R; Misencik, J A
High pressure hydrogen has been selected as the working fluid for the developmental automotive Stirling engine. Containment of the working fluid during operation of the engine at high temperatures and at high hydrogen gas pressures is essential for the acceptance of the Stirling engine as an alternative to the internal combustion engine. Most commercial alloys are extremely permeable to pure hydrogen at high temperatures. A program was undertaken at NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) to reduce hydrogen permeability in the Stirling engine heater head tubes by doping the hydrogen working fluid with CO or CO/sub 2/. Small additions of these gases were shown to form an oxide on the inside tube wall and thus reduce hydrogen permeability. A study of the effects of dopant concentration, alloy composition, and effects of surface oxides on hydrogen permeability in candidate heater head tube alloys is summarized. Results showed that hydrogen permeability was similar for iron-base alloys (N-155, A286, IN800, 19-9DL, and Nitronic 40), cobalt-base alloys (HS-188) and nickel-base alloys (IN718). In general, the permeability of the alloys decreased with increasing concentration of CO or CO/sub 2/ dopant, with increasing oxide thickness, and decreasing oxide porosity. At high levels of dopants, highly permeable liquid oxides formed on those alloys with greater than 50% Fe content. Furthermore, highly reactive minor alloying elements (Ti, Al, Nb, and La) had a strong influence on reducing hydrogen permeability.