Introduction to Heat Engine

Hate is one of the various forms of energy. It is discussed mostly in the subject of physics and thermodynamics. Heat energy is useful to all mankind in various forms; it can be converted into energy or work, etc. Usually, we get it from the sun, and the energy can be conservative. So let's take time to discuss what a heat engine is, what is the function of the heat engine, What are its types and many things about heat engines.

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What is the Heat Engine?

As we know that the heat energy can be converted into work, the heat engine is equipment constructed to fulfil the process of thermodynamics. With this heat engine, we can convert the heat energy into mechanical work. It was invented by Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot. He was a French physicist who did experiments on several things. That's the reason the heat engine is also named the Carnot engine. It is useful in many ways like in the vehicles we drive, refrigerators to store our food, coolers, computers, etc. His main aim was to convert the heat energy into useful work which benefits society.

Types of Heat Engine

The classification of heat engines has been categorized by the principle by which they are working. Even though all the principles are taken from Thermodynamics, each kind of heat engine uses a different principle to convert heat energy into mechanical work. Different types of heat engines available in thermodynamics are:

Internal Combustion Engine: It is one of the types of heat engine which works on the principle of the Otto cycle. In this procedure, the apparatus consists of a piston which helps to draw a fuel-air mixture into the heat engine. It is the initial step of the process. In the second step, the mixture is compressed highly adiabatically. In the third step, it goes under the Ignition process which increases the level of pressure and the temperature drastically. Again under the expansion of the process, the Piston clears the gases with its rising temperature. Does the process have ended in the internal combustion engine?

Stirling Engine: It is the second kind of heat engine. The apparatus of the Stirling engine consists of two cylinders along with a piston. Here also, the Piston collects a fuel-air mixture and sends it to the first cylinder. In the first cylinder, the gas is heated at a high temperature which also results in increased pressure. Again, it is collected by the Piston which converts into work. It is transferred into another cylinder. It is completely different from the previous stage and also simple. Here, the cooling activity will be done to the gas. The cold reservoir helps to cool down the gas and then it is compressed. The compressed gas is sent to the original chamber from where the Piston collects and converts into useful work.

What is an Ideal Heat Engine?

The Carnot engine is an ideal heat engine because it performs all the processes cyclically. So wherever it stops again, it ends from there. It has all the reversible processes. So it can be treated as an ideal heat engine.

Parts of Heat Engine

The heat engine has three main parts in its equipment; each part has its significance and fulfils its part of converting heat energy into mechanical work. The parts of the heat engine are:

Source: It is the primary part of the heat engine. It is also known as a hot body because the main aim of the heat engine is to take the heat and then convert it into mechanical work. So to collect the heat, the source is provided in the apparatus. It is always maintained with an infinite thermal capacity so that it can be stable even after producing a large amount of heat.

Working Substance: Whatever the amount of heat given to the hot source will be collected by this working substance, the substance may vary. However, the function is to collect from the hot source and send it to the sink.

Sink: It is completely in contrast to the first part which is the source. It has a finite thermal capacity. It receives the heat from the working substance and helps to maintain the mechanical work obtained from the working substance. It doesn't allow it to get affected by the outside temperatures.

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What is the Function of a Heat Engine?

The function of a heat engine is to convert the heat energy into useful mechanical work. This can be done by taking a working substance. First, it is heated at a high temperature and cooled at another stage. Like this, we can get benefited from the heat engine. Though the type of heat engine and cycle varies, the main function is to convert the heat energy into useful mechanical work.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Advantages of Heat Engines?

Ans. We have several benefits using the heat engine. Some of them are:

  • It helps mankind to discover various machines.

  • It helps to regulate temperatures.

  • The cycling procedures are more advantageous than normal procedures.

  • As the fluids are allowed to high temperatures, we can yield high efficiency.

  • It consumes very less time and less cost.

  • The procedure and apparatus are also easy to use and simple to fix.

2. What do you Mean by Heat Engine Cycle?

Ans. The heat engine is a system which helps to get useful work with the conversion of heat energy. Heat engine cycle is defined as the process of increase in temperature and immersing the same in a cold reservoir to cool it down without any interruption. These reversible processes are known as a cycle.

3. What is the Secondary Classification of Heat Engines?

Ans. Along with two basic types of heat engines, we have another classification which consists of three types. They are:

  • Steam Engine: It uses coal for the conversion process. It transforms water into steam by the combustion process.

  • Reciprocating Steam Engine: We can understand from its name itself that it converts steam into water by cooling effect.

  • Diesel Engine: It is widely used in heavy motors and vehicles. It helps to convert diesel into moving energy with air by heating it at high pressure.

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