First Advisor

Erik Bodegom

Term of Graduation

Summer 1991

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics






Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery -- Thermodynamics -- Computer programs



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 39 pages)


Since the need of energy conservation has become more and more urgent in the past decades, there has been an increased interest in the study and development of more efficient energy conversion systems. One of the fields that have arisen from that endeavor is a branch of physics called Finite Time Thermodynamics (FIT). It may be said that FIT was initiated through the famous paper by Curzon and Ahlborn (1975) that established new bounds on the efficiency of a finite time Carnot heat engine. Before, the traditional treatments gave a fundamental upper limit on the efficiency of any heat engine. However, this figure, the well-known Carnot efficiency, is far too optimistic in comparison to real heat engines. The reason lies in the fact that the traditional Carnot engine is operating infinitely slowly, thus having zero power output. Curzon and Ahlborn were able to improve upon this treatment and to set an upper limit on engines producing finite power.


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