A thermoacoustic device having a thermal stack made from a piece of porous material which provides a desirable ratio of thermoacoustic area to viscous area, which has a low resistance to flow, which minimizes acoustic streaming and which has a high specific heat and low thermal conductivity is disclosed. The thermal stack is easy and cheap to form and it can be formed in small sizes. Specifically, in one embodiment, a thermal stack which is formed by the natural structure of a porous material such as reticulated vitreous carbon is disclosed. The thermal stack is formed by machining a block of reticulated vitreous carbon into the required shape of the thermal stack. In a second embodiment, a micro-thermoacoustic device is disclosed which includes a thermal stack made of a piece of porous material such as reticulated vitreous carbon. In another embodiment, a heat exchanger is disclosed which is formed of a block of heat conductive open cell foam material.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.