Articles

Heat Engines in the Real World

Heat Engines in the Real World

All undergraduate physics students are taught the Carnot cycle as an example of a thermodynamic engine. The Carnot cycle is optimized for efficiency but unfortunately yields zero power, and is therefore not very useful in reality. However, it’s analysis is mathematically elegant. How can we modify the Carnot analysis for real engines which are optimized for power without sacrificing mathematical simplicity?

Themes: Energy and Environment

Topics: Thermodynamics

Grades: 11-12

Price of Electricity

Price of Electricity

We are used to buying food by the kg, but how much does energy cost and how do different sources compare?

Themes: Electricity Generation, Energy and Environment, and Energy use at Home

Topics: Electricity

Grades: 11-12 and 8-10

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Price of Natural Gas

We are used to buying food by the kg, but how much does energy cost and how do different sources compare?

Themes: Energy use at Home and Non-renewable and non-clean energy

Topics: Energy

Grades: 11-12 and 8-10

Comparing Energy and Heat Units

Comparing Energy and Heat Units

How do I compare heat and energy values given in different units?

Themes: Energy and Environment, Energy use at Home, Renewable and Clean Energy, Skills and Techniques, and Transportation

Topics: Energy and Tools

Grades: 11-12

CO2e

CO2e

What does the “e” mean?

Themes: Climate, Energy and Environment, and Renewable and Clean Energy

Topics: Climate and Energy

Grades: 8-10

Air Transport

Air Transport

How much energy does it take to fly you and your luggage 10,000 km? What is the environmental cost?

Themes: Climate and Transportation

Topics: Drag, Efficiency, and Energy

Grades: 11-12

Solar Energy in a Temperate Climate

Solar Energy in a Temperate Climate

Does it pay to cover your roof with solar panels in rainy Vancouver BC?

Themes: Energy and Environment and Renewable and Clean Energy

Topics: Energy and sustainability

Grades: 11-12 and 8-10

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Hydro-Electric Dams

Why is this beautiful valley in north-eastern BC about to be flooded?

Themes: Energy and Environment and Renewable and Clean Energy

Topics: Conservation, Electricity, and Forces

Grades: 11-12

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Wind Power

How can we harness a substantial amount of power from the wind?

Themes: Energy and Environment and Renewable and Clean Energy

Topics: Climate, Conservation, Energy, and sustainability

Grades: 11-12 and 8-10

Sea-borne Transportation

Sea-borne Transportation

Why are the sections of the fence around my garden (in Vancouver BC) made of BC cedar in Asia – i.e. the cedar was shipped twice across the Pacific? Cedar fencing is hardly a high-value product.

Themes: Energy and Environment and Transportation

Topics: Forces and sustainability

Grades: 11-12