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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

full meaning of GPS system
Anaele Reply
how to prove that Newton's law of universal gravitation F = GmM ______ R²
Kaka Reply
sir dose it apply to the human system
Olubukola Reply
prove that the centrimental force Fc= M1V² _________ r
Kaka Reply
prove that centripetal force Fc = MV² ______ r
Kaka
how lesers can transmit information
mitul Reply
griffts bridge derivative
Ganesh Reply
below me
please explain; when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative- yet both attracts dust. does dust have third types of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative
Timothy Reply
what is a conductor
Timothy
hello
Timothy
below me
why below you
Timothy
no....I said below me ...... nothing below .....ok?
dust particles contains both positive and negative charge particles
Mbutene
corona charge can verify
Stephen
when pressure increases the temperature remain what?
Ibrahim Reply
what is frequency
Mbionyi Reply
define precision briefly
Sujitha Reply
CT scanners do not detect details smaller than about 0.5 mm. Is this limitation due to the wavelength of x rays? Explain.
MITHRA Reply
hope this helps
what's critical angle
Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
dude.....next time Google it
okay whatever
Chidalu
pls who can give the definition of relative density?
Temiloluwa
the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
Chidalu
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
Chidalu
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
Chidalu
how do I highlight a sentence]p? I select the sentence but get options like copy or web search but no highlight. tks. src
Sean Reply
then you can edit your work anyway you want
Wat is the relationship between Instataneous velocity
Oyinlusi Reply
Instantaneous velocity is defined as the rate of change of position for a time interval which is almost equal to zero
Astronomy

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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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