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A Stirling engine evidently functions by heating and cooling air, thus making the piston move up and down. What if the heated side of the cylinder were shaped as a sort of cone with a gentle slope, cut off before a point forms (I guess it would look like a trapezoid from the direct side), so that the surface that must be heated is reduced in size, lets say by half? Would that still permit the engine to run as well as it did with a large top surface?

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  • $\begingroup$ AFAIK, cylinders in your care are trapezoidal (e.g., this site) $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jan 3 '14 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ I see what you mean, but that's a combustion engine, not a Stirling. $\endgroup$ – ageattack Jan 3 '14 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ It appears the question is about whether efficiency is lost when using non-square cylinders; it appears that car industry uses this so I would assume that the answer is It appears that it does run as well. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jan 3 '14 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ I see your point, and for combustion engines what you say is true, but in a Stirling engine the air must heat itself on the surface of the cylinder. What I'm wondering is if that surface is minimized in the way I mentioned above, will the Stirling engine will still be as efficient. Combustion engines do not run the same way, as combustion is what propels the piston, not air expansion. $\endgroup$ – ageattack Jan 3 '14 at 19:57

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