Thermodynamics

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