Carnot Cycle (Heat Engine)

This java applet show you the physics processes of a Carnot heat engine.

Carnot cycle is a four stage reversible sequence consisting of 1. adiabatic compression
2. isothermal expansion at high temperature T2
3. adiabatic expansion
4. isothermal compression at low temperature T1

5. back to stage 1 and continue.

1. Set the starting point (Press, Volume) of the adiabatic compression process: The program will show the piston position and related information
as you move the mouse inside the P-V region.
Click the mouse to set the initial P-V value.

Before you set up the initial P-V value,
    you can click the horizon line and drag it to change the Max. pressure (Pmax).
Move the mouse to P=1 atm, and V=22.4(liter), and check out the value of PV/(nR).
Do you know how many mole of gas is inside the chamber?

2. Set the starting point for the isothermal compression process: click the mouse button again (within the possible region).
3. Press Start button to start the animation, Press Reset to reset the conditions. Click + to increase speed of animation  , click - to slow it down
    (Each click change the time scale by 1.25)
Click RIGHT mouse button to stop the animation, click it again to resume.

The efficiency of the heat engine will be displayed.
Different color for the gas volume represent its temperature.

Color of the piston:

Red : contact with heat reservoir at high T2 ĄC
Yellow bar within the gas volume is proportional to heat flow (In).
Green: contact with heat reservoir at low T1 ĄC Yellow bar within the piston region is proportional to heat flow (Out).

(Total length of the yellow bar is the maximum heat flow during isothermal expansion process, some of the heat were release during the isothermal compression process.)

Blue : adiabatic processĄC 4. Cp/Cv is the ratio of the specific heat of the gas at constant pressure to that at constant volume. You can enter any value larger than 1. (Be reasonable, OK!)
It will reset the program automatically.
5. While the animation is suspended, move your mouse within the PV-diagram
     to view the (P, V) values.

Your suggestions are highly appreciated!

E-mail : Please click

AuthorĄGFu-Kwun Hwang, Dept. of physics, National Taiwan Normal University
Last modified :