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Thermodynamics: Carnot Heat Engine

Like with any heat engine, the Carnot Heat Engine must operate between two reservoirs, where one reservoir provides energy and the other removes excess energy. Just like all heat engines that Carnot Heat Engine cannot be 100% efficient, otherwise the second law of thermodynamics would be violated. The Carnot Heat Engine, however, will tell the engineer the highest possible efficiency that any heat engine could theoretically obtain if it were operate between those two reservoirs. Refer to the equation below to calculate the efficiency of a Carnot Heat Engine.

Carnot Cycle Efficiency (1)

Carnot Heat Engine Diagram

From the above equation it can be seen that the efficiency of the heat engine can be increased by either increases the temperature of the source, or decreasing the temperature of the sink.

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