A reciprocating-piston uniflow engine includes a harmonic oscillator inlet valve capable of oscillating at a resonant frequency for controlling the flow of working fluid into the engine. In particular, the inlet valve includes an inlet valve head and a spring arranged together as a harmonic oscillator so that the inlet valve head is moveable from an unbiased equilibrium position to a biased closed position occluding an inlet. When released, the inlet valve head undergoes a single oscillation past the equilibrium position to a maximum open position and returns to a biased return position close to the closed position to choke the flow and produce a pressure drop across the inlet valve causing the inlet valve to close. In other embodiments, the harmonic oscillator arrangement of the inlet valve enables the uniflow engine to be reversibly operated as a uniflow compressor.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the United States Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.