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  • Describe the processes of a simple heat engine.
  • Explain the differences among the simple thermodynamic processes—isobaric, isochoric, isothermal, and adiabatic.
  • Calculate total work done in a cyclical thermodynamic process.
An old photo of a steam turbine at a turbine production plant. People are shown working on the turbine.
Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, humans have harnessed power through the use of the first law of thermodynamics, before we even understood it completely. This photo, of a steam engine at the Turbinia Works, dates from 1911, a mere 61 years after the first explicit statement of the first law of thermodynamics by Rudolph Clausius. (credit: public domain; author unknown)

One of the most important things we can do with heat transfer is to use it to do work for us. Such a device is called a heat engine    . Car engines and steam turbines that generate electricity are examples of heat engines. [link] shows schematically how the first law of thermodynamics applies to the typical heat engine.

The figure shows a schematic representation of a heat engine. The heat engine is represented by a circle. The heat entering the system is shown as Q sub in, represented as a bold arrow toward the circle, and the heat coming out of the heat engine is shown as Q sub out, represented by a narrower bold arrow leaving the circle. The work labeled as W is shown to leave the heat engine as represented by another bold arrow leaving the circle. At the center of the circle are two equations. First, the change in internal energy of the system, delta U, equals zero. Consequently, W equals Q sub in minus Q sub out.
Schematic representation of a heat engine, governed, of course, by the first law of thermodynamics. It is impossible to devise a system where Q out = 0 size 12{Q rSub { size 8{"out"} } =0} {} , that is, in which no heat transfer occurs to the environment.
Figure a shows a piston attached to a movable cylinder which is attached to the right of another gas filled cylinder. The heat Q sub in is shown to be transferred to the gas in the cylinder as shown by a bold arrow toward it. The force of the gas on the moving cylinder with the piston is shown as F equals P times A shown as a vector arrow pointing toward the right. The change in internal energy is marked in the diagram as delta U sub a equals Q sub in. Figure b shows a piston attached to a movable cylinder which is attached to the right of another gas filled cylinder. The force of the gas has moved the cylinder with the piston by a distance d toward the right. The change in internal energy is marked in the diagram as delta U sub b equals negative W sub out. The piston is shown to have done work by change in position, marked as F d equal to W sub out. Figure c shows a piston attached to a movable cylinder which is attached to the right of another gas filled cylinder. The piston attached to the cylinder is shown to reach back to the initial position shown in figure a. The distance d is traveled back and heat Q sub out is shown to leave the system as represented by an outward arrow. The force driving backward is shown as a vector arrow pointing to the left, labeled F prime. F prime is shown less than F. The work done by the force F prime is shown by the equation W sub in equal to F prime times d.
(a) Heat transfer to the gas in a cylinder increases the internal energy of the gas, creating higher pressure and temperature. (b) The force exerted on the movable cylinder does work as the gas expands. Gas pressure and temperature decrease when it expands, indicating that the gas’s internal energy has been decreased by doing work. (c) Heat transfer to the environment further reduces pressure in the gas so that the piston can be more easily returned to its starting position.

The illustrations above show one of the ways in which heat transfer does work. Fuel combustion produces heat transfer to a gas in a cylinder, increasing the pressure of the gas and thereby the force it exerts on a movable piston. The gas does work on the outside world, as this force moves the piston through some distance. Heat transfer to the gas cylinder results in work being done. To repeat this process, the piston needs to be returned to its starting point. Heat transfer now occurs from the gas to the surroundings so that its pressure decreases, and a force is exerted by the surroundings to push the piston back through some distance. Variations of this process are employed daily in hundreds of millions of heat engines. We will examine heat engines in detail in the next section. In this section, we consider some of the simpler underlying processes on which heat engines are based.

PV Diagrams and their relationship to work done on or by a gas

A process by which a gas does work on a piston at constant pressure is called an isobaric process    . Since the pressure is constant, the force exerted is constant and the work done is given as

P Δ V . size 12{PΔV} {}
The diagram shows an isobaric expansion of a gas filled cylinder held vertically. V is the volume of gas in the cylinder. A is the area of cross section of the cylinder. The cylinder has a movable piston with a rod attached to it at the top of the cylinder. A heat Q sub in is shown to enter the cylinder from below. A force F equals P times A is shown to act upward from the bottom of the cylinder. The piston is shown to have been displaced by a vertical distance d upward. The volume displaced is given by delta V equals A times d. The work output shown as W sub out is equal to F times d, which is also equal to P times A times d, which in turn equals P times delta V.
An isobaric expansion of a gas requires heat transfer to keep the pressure constant. Since pressure is constant, the work done is P Δ V size 12{PΔV} {} .
W = Fd size 12{W= ital "Fd"} {}

See the symbols as shown in [link] . Now F = PA size 12{F= ital "PA"} {} , and so

W = PAd . size 12{W= ital "PAd"} {}

Because the volume of a cylinder is its cross-sectional area A size 12{A} {} times its length d size 12{d} {} , we see that Ad = Δ V size 12{ ital "Ad"=ΔV} {} , the change in volume; thus,

Questions & Answers

Calculate the work done by an 85.0-kg man who pushes a crate 4.00 m up along a ramp that makes an angle of 20.0º20.0º with the horizontal. (See [link] .) He exerts a force of 500 N on the crate parallel to the ramp and moves at a constant speed. Be certain to include the work he does on the crate an
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What is thermal heat all about
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why uniform circular motion is called a periodic motion?.
Boniface Reply
when a train start from A & it returns at same station A . what is its acceleration?
Mwdan Reply
what is distance of A to B of the stations and what is the time taken to reach B from A
BELLO
the information provided is not enough
aliyu
Hmmmm maybe the question is logical
yusuf
where are the parameters for calculation
HENRY
there is enough information to calculate an AVERAGE acceleration
Kwok
mistake, there is enough information to calculate an average velocity
Kwok
~\
Abel
what is the unit of momentum
Abel
wha are the types of radioactivity ?
Worku Reply
what are the types of radioactivity
Worku
what is static friction
Golu Reply
It is the opposite of kinetic friction
Mark
static fiction is friction between two surfaces in contact an none of sliding over on another, while Kinetic friction is friction between sliding surfaces in contact.
MINDERIUM
I don't get it,if it's static then there will be no friction.
author
It means that static friction is that friction that most be overcome before a body can move
kingsley
static friction is a force that keeps an object from moving, and it's the opposite of kinetic friction.
author
It is a force a body must overcome in order for the body to move.
Eboh
If a particle accelerator explodes what happens
Eboh
why we see the edge effect in case of the field lines of capacitor?
Arnab
what is wave
Muhammed Reply
what is force
Muhammed
force is something which is responsible for the object to change its position
MINDERIUM
more technically it is the product of mass of an object and Acceleration produced in it
MINDERIUM
wave is disturbance in any medium
iqra
energy is distributed in any medium through particles of medium.
iqra
If a particle accelerator explodes what happens
Eboh Reply
we have to first figure out .... wats a particle accelerator first
Teh
What is surface tension
Subi Reply
The resistive force of surface.
iqra
Who can tutor me on simple harmonic motion
yusuf Reply
on both a string and peldulum?
Anya
spring*
Anya
Yea
yusuf
Do you have a chit-chat contact
yusuf
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Anya
Which is
yusuf
Where are you chatting from
yusuf
I don't understand the basics of this group
Jimmy
teach him SHM init
Anya
Simple harmonic motion
yusuf
how.an.equipotential.line is two dimension and equipotential surface is three dimension ?
syed Reply
definition of mass of conversion
umezurike Reply
Force equals mass time acceleration. Weight is a force and it can replace force in the equation. The acceleration would be gravity, which is an acceleration. To change from weight to mass divide by gravity (9.8 m/s^2).
Marisa
how many subject is in physics
Adeshina Reply
the write question should be " How many Topics are in O- Level Physics, or other branches of physics.
effiom
how many topic are in physics
Praise
Praise what level are you
yusuf
If u are doing a levels in your first year you do AS topics therefore you do 5 big topic i.e particles radiation, waves and optics, mechanics,materials, electricity. After that you do A level topics like Specific Harmonic motion circular motion astrophysics depends really
Anya
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yusuf
Heat nd Co for a level
yusuf
yh I need someone to explain something im tryna solve . I'll send the question if u down for it
Tamdy Reply
a ripple tank experiment a vibrating plane is used to generate wrinkles in the water .if the distance between two successive point is 3.5cm and the wave travel a distance of 31.5cm find the frequency of the vibration
Tamdy
hallow
Boniface
please send the answer
Boniface
the range of objects and phenomena studied in physics is
Bethel Reply
I don't know please give the answer
Boniface
Practice Key Terms 6

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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