An ideal heat engine (conceived by Sadi Carnot) in which the sequence of operations forming the working cycle consists of isothermal expansion, adiabatic expansion, isothermal compression, and adiabatic compression back to its initial state.
an ideal series of states through which a heat engine may move, which maximizes the amount of heat converted into work. The Carnot cycle consists of two isothermal processes and two adiabatic processes.
the most efficient thermal cycle possible, consisting of four reversible processes, two isothermal and two adiabatic (see figure 13.9)
a cycle (of expansion and compression) of an idealized reversible heat engine that does work without loss of heat
The Carnot cycle is the thermodynamic principle that governs the efficiency of mechanical engines. It states that only a fraction of the heat produced by an engine can perform work, and that the remainder dissipates into the engine and the environment. Hydrogen fuel cells, because of their electrochemical nature, overcome this limitation.
An idealized reversible work cycle defined for any system, but usually limited, in meteorology, to a so-called perfect gas. The Carnot cycle consists of four states: 1) an isothermal expansion of the gas at a temperature T1; 2) an adiabatic expansion to temperature T2; 3) an isothermal compression at temperature T2; and 4) an adiabatic compression to the original state of the gas to complete the cycle. In a Carnot cycle, the net work done is the difference between the heat input Q1 at higher temperature T1 and the heat extracted Q2 at the lower temperature T2. The atmospheric general circulation and some storms, notably hurricanes, incorporate a process similar to a Carnot cycle. See Carnot engine, thermodynamic efficiency.
The Carnot cycle is a particular thermodynamic cycle, modeled on the Carnot heat engine, studied by Nicolas LÃ©onard Sadi Carnot in the 1820s and expanded upon by Benoit Paul Ã‰mile Clapeyron in the 1830s and 40s.