Perfect heat powered engine, my TA says:

In summary: TA in my physics class told us that if there was a perfect engine powered by heat (100% efficent) then the mechanical energy generated by the engine would be the same as the amount of heat energy used by the engine. I am not sure what he is getting at here, or trying to say by this, but is this even accurate?In summary, the TA is explaining that if a 100% efficient heat engine were possible (which it is not), then all the heat energy put into the engine would be converted into mechanical energy. However, this statement is not entirely accurate as a perfect heat engine can only be Th-Tc/Th efficient, where Th and Tc are the operating temperatures.
  • #1
wakejosh
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my TA in my physics class told us that if there was a perfect engine powered by heat (100% efficent) then the mechanical energy generated by the engine would be the same as the amount of heat energy used by the engine. I am not sure what he is getting at here, or trying to say by this, but is this even accurate?
 
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  • #2
wakejosh said:
my TA in my physics class told us that if there was a perfect engine powered by heat (100% efficent) then the mechanical energy generated by the engine would be the same as the amount of heat energy used by the engine. I am not sure what he is getting at here, or trying to say by this, but is this even accurate?
This is true, if we were able to build a 100% efficient heat engine (which itself is theoretically impossible), then any heat we put into the engine could be used to do work.
 
  • #3
wakejosh said:
my TA in my physics class told us that if there was a perfect engine powered by heat (100% efficent) then the mechanical energy generated by the engine would be the same as the amount of heat energy used by the engine. I am not sure what he is getting at here, or trying to say by this, but is this even accurate?
Following on what Hootenanny said, which is quite correct, I would prefer to say that this statement is not accurate. A perfect heat engine can not be 100% efficient. It can, at most be Th-Tc/Th efficient where Tc and Th are the temperatures that it operates between.

AM
 

1. What is a perfect heat powered engine?

A perfect heat powered engine is a theoretical device that converts heat energy into mechanical work with 100% efficiency, meaning all heat energy is converted into work without any loss.

2. How does a perfect heat powered engine work?

A perfect heat powered engine works by utilizing the temperature difference between two reservoirs to drive a cycle of thermodynamic processes, such as expansion and compression of a gas, to convert heat into mechanical work.

3. Is a perfect heat powered engine possible?

No, a perfect heat powered engine is not possible in reality due to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that some energy is always lost in the form of heat during energy conversions. However, engineers and scientists continue to strive for higher efficiencies in heat engines.

4. What are the applications of a perfect heat powered engine?

A perfect heat powered engine has potential applications in renewable energy systems, such as solar power and geothermal power, as well as in industrial processes that require large amounts of heat and energy.

5. How does a perfect heat powered engine differ from a real heat engine?

A perfect heat powered engine differs from a real heat engine in terms of efficiency. Real heat engines have lower efficiencies due to heat loss, friction, and other inefficiencies in the conversion process. Additionally, a perfect heat powered engine is a theoretical concept while real heat engines exist in practical applications.

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