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Radiation does not need a medium.
Heat is lost very effectively from a radiator in space, so this is no obstacle to the success of a heat engine in space.
Quote from: teragram on 28/01/2010 17:12:00Radiation does not need a medium.True enough, but no one is disputing that.Quote Heat is lost very effectively from a radiator in space, so this is no obstacle to the success of a heat engine in space.Ah - in terms of space craft, you're exactly wrong. The total amount of radiation follows T4 (where T is the absolute temperature of the radiator), so a radiator on a space craft would need to be very hot indeed before it became efficient enough to maintain the heat gradient required for a Sterling Engine. Like I said, the 'cold' side of the Sterling engine, which has to radiate the heat away quickly enough to maintain the heat differential, would have to be hotter than the 'hot' side would get from absorbsion of solar radiation before it became efficient enough to work.
Ah - in terms of space craft, you're exactly wrong.
Well they'll heat up until they reach an equilibrium where the energy radiated is equal to the energy absorbed