The second law of thermodynamics and the development of steam engines

By Robert M. Hazen, PhD, George Mason University

The second law of thermodynamics is incredibly widespread. He works as a host for all physical conditions. There are many different ways to describe the basic principle of this law, for example, heat flows from heat to cold, but the second, more subtle description, the more subtle description of the second law, steam engines are not designed to convert heat 100 percent into operation. .

A train with a steam engine.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, thermal energy flows from hot water to cold water. (Image by Alan Tunnillif)

Nicholas Carnot and the development of steam engines

Thermodynamics is very important in designing steam engines because they focus on transmitting energy and using energy. Therefore, when designing steam engines, the main concern is the efficient transmission of power. Not surprisingly, then, some of these insights have been found in the design and development of steam engines.

Nicholas Leonard Sadie Carnon came close to finding the second law of thermodynamics from work and the study of heat and steam engines. Sadie Carnot was born in 1796 in Paris. He was a famous military technician, one of Napoleon’s great generals, and the son of Lazarus Carnot, who was Napoleon’s minister of war.

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The Forgotten Book of Nicholas Carnot

An example of a carrot cycle.
The most important discoveries of Nicholas Carnot are summarized in the book A reflection of the power of fire. (Image: DKN0049 / Shutterstock)

Carrot, a young man, learned to be a military engineer in his father’s footsteps and worked hard to understand the operation of steam engines for military purposes. Its most important findings are summarized in the booklet A reflection of the power of fire.

It appeared in 1824, but was completely ignored at the time. Long after his death, he was neglected for some 20 years. Carnot died in 1832. Carnath’s greatest gift was the ability to see general descriptions in very limited circumstances. For example, working with steam engine mechanics can see general principles. He considered steam engines to be the most common type of problem in thermodynamics.

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The relationship between work and heat

Carnath considers two different aspects of this relationship between work and temperature. On the one hand, he realized that work can be converted to heat at 100 percent efficiency. For example, a dripping ball has gravity, it lands on the ground, and the work is completely converted into energy on the floor.

Imagine a similar situation with an asteroid falling out of space. That asteroid is basically dissipated, and a lot of heat is released. All the energy represented in that system can be converted into heat. It is a phenomenon similar to coal. When burned, the energy is efficiently converted to heat.

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Converting heat to work

It is much harder to turn heat into work. And this is true for at least three reasons. First and foremost, some of the heat that enters the engine must heat up the engine itself or escape into the environment, so some heat is wasted. For example, some people consume more than 100 watts of light.

Example of heat flow from hot to cold.
Everything in the universe has great power and heat. (Image: OSweetNature / Shutterstock)

The second reason some energy is always wasted is that one engine runs in the same cycle. For example, the piston is pushed on a rod to rotate the machine, then the piston must be pulled back to work again.

So the next job is here, and some power is lost to get the job done, but the engine has to use some power to regenerate the piston.

Therefore, any engine operating in a cycle has such a problem. Even a breathing heart has the same problem, because it has to be rearranged before it can be beaten again.

But the third reason, is more subtle, and this cartoon is really hit. Heat energy flows from the heat exchanger, from the fuel tank, to the cooling tank, the environment.

Some energy is wasted because some of the power started by the engine still stays in the lower heat exchanger. Everything, even ice water, has a lot of heat in it. Whatever the starting force, it must flow out of the system.

Common questions about the second law of thermodynamics and the development of steam engines

Q: What is the relationship between work and heat?

Contributed by Nicholas Carnot Development Steam engines, Consider two different aspects of the relationship between work and temperature. On the one hand, he realized that work can be converted to heat at 100 percent efficiency, making it much harder to convert heat into work.

Q: Why is it difficult to turn heat into work?

When he works Development Steam engines, Carnot shows that there are at least three reasons for the problem of 100% efficiency and heat conversion. These include heat transfer to the environment and the cycle of the engine.

Q: What is the third and most hidden reason why it is difficult to turn heat into work in a steam engine?

Nicholas Carnot It shows that some of the engine’s energy is wasted because some of the power started by the engine is still in a low-temperature tank. That heat comes out.

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