Total views : 381

Design and Optimization of Cryogenic Regenerators: A Review


  • School of Mechanical Engineering, SASTRA University, Thanjavur – 613401, Tamil Nadu, India


Objectives: The principles of cryogenic regenerator operation, its design and optimization procedures are reviewed in this paper. Recent and ongoing developments of these regenerators are highlighted. Due to the non linear behaviour of geometry and operating parameters with performance parameters, design and optimization of regenerator performance has not been possible in conventional mathematical terms. Methods: Methodologies of design to determine the volume having maximum heat transfer ability with minimum losses are listed. The optimization in terms of mathematical, analytical and experimental approaches with their inherent difficulties is discussed. Findings: The regenerator mesh with a lower hydraulic diameter in the cold region and a larger hydraulic diameter in hot region will lead to lower regenerator losses. Thus a regenerator consisting of layers of different matrix geometry would have a better performance than a regenerator with single mesh geometry. Regenerators that incorporate heat transfer components in a parallel orientation with respect to the oscillating flow theoretically provide a better performance than screen mesh regenerators. An optimum regenerator would have a continuous variation in its hydraulic diameter along the length of the tube. Applications: This review is expected to be a catalogue of principles needed for effective simulation, design, and optimization of regenerators for cryogenic refrigerators. The optimum regenerator has the potential to significantly improve the performance of cryogenic refrigerators and make them suitable for more applications.


Cryogenic Regenerator, Design, Hybrid Regenerator, Optimization

Full Text:

 |  (PDF views: 408)


  • Ackerman RA. Cryogenic Regenerative Heat Exchangers; New York, Plenum Press; 1997. Crossref
  • Andeen BR. Heat Capacity and Geometry Impacts on Regenerator Performances. Proceedings of the Cryogenic Engineering Conference - Advances in Cryogenic Engineering. 1982 Aug; 27:611–9.
  • Gary J, Denny DE, Radebough R. A computational model for a regenerator. National Bureau of Standards Boulders. Special Publication; Boulder, Colorado. 1985 May; 698:199–11.
  • De Waele A. Optimization of pulse tubes. Cryogenics. 1999; 39:13–5. Crossref
  • Andersen SK, Carlsen H, Thomsen PG. Numerical study on optimal Stirling engine regenerator matrix designs taking into account the effects of matrix temperature oscillations. Energy Conversion and Management. 2006 May; 47(78):894–908. Crossref
  • Willems DWJH. High Power Cryocooling [Ph.D. Thesis]. Technical University: Eindhoven; 2007. p. 1–183.
  • Rűhlich I, Quack H. Investigation on Regenerative Heat Exchangers. Proceedings of the International Cryocoolers Conference. Cryocoolers 10: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; 1999. p. 265–74.
  • Radebaugh R, Louie B. A simple first step to the optimization of regenerator geometry. NBS Special Publication Cryocooler. 1985; 698:177–98.
  • Superczynski WF, Green GF. Photoetched Regenerator for use in a High Frequency Pulse Tube. Proceedings of the International Cryocoolers Conference. Cryocoolers 14, Arnold, MD: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; 2007. p. 389–96.
  • Lee GT, Lee JH, Kang BH. Effectiveness Enhancement of a Thermal Regenerator in an Oscillating Flow.
  • Applied Thermal Engineering. 1998 Apr; 18(8):653–60. Crossref
  • Mitchell MP. Assembly methods for etched foil regenerators. Advances in Cryogenic Engineering. New York, Anchorage, Alaska (USA): Plenum Press. 2004; 710:1592–7.
  • Nam K, Jeong S. Development of parallel wire regenerator for cryocoolers. Cryogenics. 2006 Apr; 46(4):278–87. Crossref
  • Tao Y, Liu Y, Gao F, Chen X, He Y. Numerical analysis on pressure drop and heat transfer performance of mesh regenerators used in cryocoolers. Cryogenics. 2009; 49:497–503. Crossref
  • Buschow KHJ, Olijhoek JF, Miedema AR. Extremely large Heat capacities between 4 and 10 K. Cryogenics. 1975; 15(5):261–64. Crossref
  • Mérida WR, Barclay JA. Monolithic regenerator technology for low temperature (4K) Gifford McMahon cryocoolers. Advances in Cryogenic Engineering. Plenum Press: New York. 1998 Jan; 43:1597-04.
  • Tanaeva IA, Ikeda H, van Bokhoven LJA, Matsubara Y, de Waele ATAM. Heat capacities and magnetic moments of potential regenerator materials at low temperatures. Cryogenics. 2003 May; 43(7):441–8. Crossref
  • Willmott AJ, Schmidt FW. Thermal Energy Storage and Regeneration. Hemisphere Publishing Corporation; 1981.
  • Atrey MD, Bapat SL, Narayankhedkar KG. Theoretical analysis and performance investigation of Stirling cycle regenerators. Cryogenics. 1991 Apr; 31(12):1044–52.Crossref
  • Heggs PJ. Design and Operational Flexibility of Thermal Regenerators Heat Exchange Engineering by Foumeny and Heggs. Ellis Horwood Publication: UK. 1991; 1:1088–96.
  • Zhu S, Matsubara Y. A numerical method of regenerator.Cryogenics. 2004 Feb; 44(2):131–40. Crossref
  • Shi J. Optimization of single and multi-stage pulse tube refrigerators [Ph.D. Thesis]. University of Wisconsin– Madison; 2008. p. 1–161.
  • Pfotenhauer JM, Shi JL, Nellis GF. A Parametric Optimization of a Single Stage Regenerator Using REGEN 3.2. Cryocoolers 13. Springer Science+Business Media Inc: New York; 2004. p. 463–70.
  • Radebaugh R. Cryocoolers: The state of the art and recent developments. Journal of Physics: Condensed matter. 2009; 21(16):1–9. Crossref PMid:21825399
  • Atrey MD, Bapat SL, Narayankhedkar KG. Influence of regenerator matrix and working fluid on optimisation of design parameters of Stirling cryocoolers. Cryogenics. 1994 Jun; 34(1):211–4. Crossref
  • Waele DATAM, Steijaert PP, Koning JJ. Thermodynamical aspects of pulse tubes. Cryogenics. 1997; 37(6):313–24. Crossref
  • Miyabe H, Takahashi S, Hamaguchi K. An approach to the design of Stirling engine regenerator matrix using packs of wire gauzes. Proceedings of 17th Intersociety Engineering Conference on Energy Conversion; US; 1982 Aug.p. 1839–44.
  • Thomas B, Pittman D. Update on the evaluation of different correlations for the flow fiction factor and heat transfer of Stirling engine regenerators. 35th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference; Las Vegas; 2000. p. 76–84. Crossref
  • Gedeon D, Wood JG. Oscillating-flow regenerator Test Rig: Hardware and theory with derived correlations for screens and felts. NASA Contractor Report 198442: US; 1996 Feb. p. 1–74.
  • Isshiki S, Takasaki Y, Ushiyama I. An experimental study on flow resistance of regenerator wire meshes in oscillating flow. 32nd Intersociety energy conversion engineering conference; Honolulu; 1997. p. 1027–32.
  • Ju Y, Jiang Y, Zhou Y. Experimental study of the oscillating flow characteristics for a regenerator in a pulse tube cryocooler. Cryogenics. 1998; 38(6):649–56. Crossref
  • Qiu LM, He YL, Gan ZH, Zhang XB, Chen GB. Regenerator performance improvement of a single-stage pulse tube cooler reached 11.1 K. Cryogenics. 2007; 47(6):49–55. Crossref
  • Orlowska AH, Davey G. Measurement of losses in a Stirling cycle. Cryogenics. 1987 Nov; 27(11):645–51. Crossref
  • Imura J, Iwata N, Yamamoto H, Ohashi Y, Nomachi H, Okumura N, et al. Optimization of regenerator in high capacity stirling type pulse tube cryocooler. Physica C. 2008; 468:2178–80. Crossref
  • Borchi E, Zoli M, Lombardini L. On the efficiency of hybrid regenerators with different matrix configurations.
  • Cryogenics. 1987; 27(6):314–6. Crossref
  • Huang BJ, Yu GJ. Experimental study on the design of orifice pulse tube refrigerator. International Journal of Refrigeration. 2001 Aug; 24(5):400–8. Crossref
  • Das SK, Sahoo RH. Thermodynamic optimization of regenerators.Cryogenics. 1991; 31:862–8. Crossref
  • De Waele ATAM. Regenerator dynamics in the harmonic approximation II. Cryogenics. 2001; 41:195–200. Crossref
  • deBoer PCT. Optimal performance of regenerative cryocoolers. Cryogenics. 2011; 51:105–13 Crossref
  • Finkelstein T, Organ AJ. Air Engines. New York: ASME Press. 2001; 1:1–351.
  • Will ME, De Waele ATAM. Heat exchanger versus regenerator: A fundamental comparison. Cryogenics. 2005 Jul; 45(7):473–80. Crossref
  • Jayaraman B, Kumar S P. Design Optimisation and performance analysis of orifice pulse tube cryogenic refrigerators. Indian Journal of Science and Technology. 2010 Apr; 3(4):425–36.
  • Kral SF, Dallas H, Jon R, Joseph J. Test Results of an Orifice Pulse Tube Refrigerator. Advances in Cryogenic Engineering. 1992 Feb; 37:931–37. Crossref
  • Ju YL, Wang L. On the numerical design of a new type of 4 K GM/PT hybrid refrigerators. Cryogenics. 2002 Sept; 42(9):533–42. Crossref
  • Kuriyama T, Sagawa K, Tachibana H, Okamura T. Effect of Regenerator Material Configuration on 4K-GM Cryocooler Performance. Proceedings of the International Cryocoolers Conference. Cryocoolers 15, California: Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers; 2009. p. 317–24.
  • Tsukagoshi T, Matsumoto K, Hashimoto T, Kuriyama T, Nakagome H. Optimum structure of multilayer regenerator with magnetic materials. Cryogenics. 1997 Jan; 37(1):11–4 Crossref
  • Radebaugh R, Yonghua H, Gallagher AO, Gary J. Optimization Calculations for a 30 HZ., 4 K Regenerator with Helium-3 Working Fluid. Proceeding IEEE/CSC & ESAS AIP conference proceedings; Colorado. 2010; 1218:1581–92.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.