carnot cycle

What is Carnot Cycle?| P-V diagram | Process | Efficiency | Application

Last updated on September 6th, 2023 at 04:38 pm

The Carnot cycle is an ideal reversible closed thermodynamic cycle consisting of four processes.

                    1. Isothermal expansion (1-2)

                    2. Adiabatic expansion (2-3)

                    3. Isothermal compression(3-4)

                    4. Adiabatic compression (4-1)

carnot cycle

The Carnot cycle demonstrates the maximum possible efficiency that a heat engine can achieve between two temperature extremes. But since isothermal compression is an extremely slow process this cycle is not practically possible.

Although no real engine perfectly follows the Carnot cycle, it serves as an essential benchmark for evaluating the performance of real heat engines and offers insights into the maximum efficiency limits in thermodynamic systems.

carnot cycle

Efficiency of Carnot cycle:

The Carnot cycle’s efficiency is given by the formula:

 Efficiency = (T1 – T2) / T1  where T1 is the temperature of the heat source (in Kelvin), and T2 is the temperature of the cold reservoir (in Kelvin). 

The efficiency of the cycle is independent of the working substance used in the engine and depends only on the temperatures of the heat source and the cold reservoir. It represents the maximum possible efficiency that any heat engine operating between two given temperature limits can achieve. 

The Carnot’s cycle efficiency can be improved by increasing the temperature of the heat source or decreasing the temperature of the cold reservoir. However, the efficiency cannot exceed the Carnot efficiency limit, and any heat engine that violates this limit would violate the second law of thermodynamics.

carnot cycle

Application of Carnot cycle:

The Carnot cycle is a theoretical thermodynamic cycle that describes the most efficient possible engine cycle using a heat engine. While the Carnot cycle is a theoretical concept, it has practical applications in a variety of fields, including:

Power Generation, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps.


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