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A steam engine and several passenger cars are shown traveling down a train track. The train has some people on board.
A steam engine uses heat transfer to do work. Tourists regularly ride this narrow-gauge steam engine train near the San Juan Skyway in Durango, Colorado, part of the National Scenic Byways Program. (credit: Dennis Adams)

Heat transfer is energy in transit, and it can be used to do work. It can also be converted to any other form of energy. A car engine, for example, burns fuel for heat transfer into a gas. Work is done by the gas as it exerts a force through a distance, converting its energy into a variety of other forms—into the car’s kinetic or gravitational potential energy; into electrical energy to run the spark plugs, radio, and lights; and back into stored energy in the car’s battery. But most of the heat transfer produced from burning fuel in the engine does not do work on the gas. Rather, the energy is released into the environment, implying that the engine is quite inefficient.

It is often said that modern gasoline engines cannot be made to be significantly more efficient. We hear the same about heat transfer to electrical energy in large power stations, whether they are coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear powered. Why is that the case? Is the inefficiency caused by design problems that could be solved with better engineering and superior materials? Is it part of some money-making conspiracy by those who sell energy? Actually, the truth is more interesting, and reveals much about the nature of heat transfer.

Basic physical laws govern how heat transfer for doing work takes place and place insurmountable limits onto its efficiency. This chapter will explore these laws as well as many applications and concepts associated with them. These topics are part of thermodynamics —the study of heat transfer and its relationship to doing work.

Questions & Answers

explain the three laws of isaac Newton with the reference
glory Reply
1st law ; a body will continue to stay at a state of rest or continue to move at a uniform motion on a straight line unless an external force is been acted upon
3rd law; in every action there is an equal or opposite reaction
2nd law: F=ma
why am i not having access to the Link in your exemples /figures ?
Augustine Reply
what is circut
hasiya Reply
newtons law of motion
First law:In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.
is the ability to do work
Adjah Reply
u from
any body online hain
ability to do work is energy
what is energy
Mercy Reply
energy is ability of the capacity to doing work
what is vector
mosco Reply
A quantity that has both magnitude and direction
can a body with out mass float in space
Is the quantity that has both magnitude and direction
Yes it can float in space,e.g.polyethene has no mass that's why it can float in space
that's my suggestion,any other explanation can be given also,thanks
A charge of 1.6*10^-6C is placed in a uniform electric field in a density 2*5^10Nc^-1, what is the magnitude of the electric force exerted on the charge?
Omotosho Reply
what's phenomena
Enoch Reply
Phenomena is an observable fact or event.
Prove that 1/d+1/v=1/f
James Reply
What interference
Moyinoluwa Reply
What is a polarized light called?
what is a half life
Mama Reply
the time taken for a radioactive element to decay by half of its original mass
what is radioactive element
Half of the total time required by a radioactive nuclear atom to totally disintegrate
radioactive elements are those with unstable nuclei(ie have protons more than neutrons, or neutrons more than protons
in other words, the radioactive atom or elements have unequal number of protons to neutrons.
state the laws of refraction
state laws of reflection
Why does a bicycle rider bends towards the corner when is turning?
When do we say that the stone thrown vertically up wards accelerate negatively?
Give two importance of insulator placed between plates of a capacitor.
Macho had a shoe with a big sole moving in mudy Road, shanitah had a shoe with a small sole. Give reasons for those two cases.
when was the name taken from
Biola Reply
retardation of a car
when was the name retardation taken
did you mean a motion with velocity decreases uniformly by the time? then, the vector acceleration is opposite direction with vector velocity
what's velocity
Velocity is the rate of change of displacement
Atomic transmutation
Basirat Reply
An atom is the smallest indivisible particular of an element
mosco Reply
what is an atomic
Awene Reply

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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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