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Heat Engines

  1. Mar 8, 2006 #1
    Could someone explain to me how heat engines and refrigerators and air conditioners work. I'm very confused about the process and if they are isothermic, isovolumetric, or adiabatic.

    ~Kitty
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2006 #2

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    The key to a refrigeration cycle is a working fluid with just the right properties that it cools down to a useful temperature when undergoing adiabatic expansion. Then, after going through a heat exchanger in gaseous form (dispensing its "coldness" to whatever use you have for it), warming it up, it is compressed into a much hotter liquid, and run through another heat exchanger, cooling that liquid down.

    http://home.howstuffworks.com/refrigerator4.htm
     
  4. Mar 8, 2006 #3
    This jsut keeps doing that over and over right?

    ~Kitty
     
  5. Mar 8, 2006 #4

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Yep: Expand (and cool)-> Pass through heat exchanger (and warm) -> compress (and warm more) -> Pass through second heat exchanger (and cool) -> Repeat.
     
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