number of text books [1–9]. Two primary classes of thermodynamic cycles are power cycles and refrigeration cycles. Power cycles are cycles that convert a heatinput into a work output, while refrigeration cycles transfer heat from low to hightemperatures using work input. In this chapter the emphasis will be on power cycles.The Carnot cycle is considered an ideal thermodynamic cycle. It is the mostefficient cycle possible for converting a given amount of thermal energy into work or, conversely, for using a given amount of work for refrigeration purposes. Anycycle operating between temperatures
, cannot exceed the efficiency of aCarnot cycle. The temperatures are expressed in Kelvin (K) or Rankine (R). Further discussion on Carnot engine efficiency is given by Curzon and Ahlborn .
4.2 Carnot Cycle
The Carnot cycle was first studied by Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot in the 1820s.A Carnot cycle acting as a heat engine is shown in Fig. 4.1 on a temperature(
) diagram. The cycle takes place between a hot reservoir at temperature
and a cold reservoir at temperature
. The Carnot cycle consists of thefollowing steps:
Reversible isothermal expansion of the gas at the “hot” temperature, T
(Isothermal heat addition)
During this step (1 to 2 in Fig. 4.1) the expanding gascauses the piston to do work on the surroundings. The gas expansion is propelled by absorption of heat from the high temperature reservoir.
Reversible adiabatic expansion of the gas
: For this step (2 to 3 in Fig. 4.1) it isassumed that the piston and cylinder are thermally insulated, so that no heat isgained or lost. The gas continues to expand, doing work on the surroundings. Thegas expansion causes it to cool to the “cold” temperature,
Reversible isothermal compression of the gas at the “cold” temperature, T
(Isothermal heat rejection)
: This step is shown as 3–4 in Fig. 4.1. Now the sur-roundings do work on the gas, causing heat to flow out of the gas to the lowtemperature reservoir.
Reversible adiabatic compression of the gas
: This is Step 4 to 1 in Fig. 4.1.Once again it is assumed that the piston and cylinder are thermally insulated.During this step, the surroundings do work on the gas, compressing it and causingthe temperature to rise to
. At this point the gas is in the same state as at the startof Step 1.
90 4 Thermodynamic Cycles
gated the Carnot cycle.Benoit Paul Émile Clapeyron in the 1830s and work in the 1940s further investi-