Performance of an Air Expansion Engine

  • J. E. Jensen
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 1)


The end product of the process involving the engine under discussion is liquid nitrogen. This is obtained by cooling and liquefying air and distilling it. There are several methods of obtaining liquid air: by cooling and using Joule-Thomson expansion; by cooling and production of work using mechanical expansion; or by using a combination of the two. A method employing mechanical expansion is preferred because of the higher process efficiency and the resulting higher yield. As an example, the system tested was run using cooling and Joule-Thomson expansion with a resulting yield of 90 liters per hour of 99.7 percent pure liquid nitrogen. The same plant, using cooling, Joule-Thomson expansion, and a reciprocating expansion engine produces 200 to 245 liters per hour of pure liquid nitrogen. This paper will describe the engine, point out operating problems and give the results of performance tests with some conclusions.


Valve Opening Exhaust Valve Inlet Valve Valve Lift Mechanical Expansion 
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  1. 1.
    P. Kapitza, Expansion Turbine Producing Low Temperatures Applied to Air Liquefaction, J. Phys. 1, No, 1 (1939).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, Inc., New York 1960

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.CEL National Bureau of StandardsBoulderUSA

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