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Phys. Rev. E 96, () - Finite-size effect on optimal efficiency of heat engines

The work reveals intrinsic limits on the overall performance of reciprocating heat engines. The theory describes the general effects of parameters such as compression ratio and external or buffer pressure on engine output.

Efficiency of internal combustion engine

It also provides rational explanations of certain operational characteristics such as how engines generally behave when supercharged or pressurized. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

Carnot efficiency

Senft, J. James R.

How does an engine power a machine?

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN hardback 1. Mechanical efficiency.

Mechanical Efficiency of Heat Engines

S36 At the heart of every engine is a working substance. In a steam engine the working substance is water, in both its vapor and liquid forms. In an automobile engine the working substance is gasoline—air mixture. If an engine is to do work on a sustained basis, the working substance must operate in a cycle, that is the working substance must pass through a closed series of thermodynamic processes, called strokes , returning again and again to each state in its cycle. In considering heat engines, we talk about reservoirs.


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Heat flows out of a high-temperature reservoir and into a low—temperature one. A heat engine: Gains heat from a reservoir of higher temperature, increasing the engine's internal energy Converts some of this energy into mechanical work Expels the remaining energy as heat to some lower—temperature reservoir, usually called a sink.

We can study real engines by analysing the behavior of an ideal engine.

In an ideal engine all processes are reversible and no wasteful energy transfers occur due to, say, friction and turbulence. Before scientists understood the second law of thermodynamics, many people thought that a very low friction heat engine could convert nearly all the input heat energy to useful work, but not so.

We shall focus on a particular ideal engine called a Carnot engine after the French scientist and engineer N.