Optimization criteria, bounds, and efficiencies of heat engines

N. Sánchez-Salas, L. López-Palacios, S. Velasco, A. Calvo Hernández

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Abstract

The efficiency of four different and representative models of heat engines under maximum conditions for a figure of merit representing a compromise between useful energy and lost energy (the Ω criterion) is investigated and compared with previous results for the same models where the efficiency is considered at maximum power conditions. It is shown that the maximum Ω regime is more efficient and, additionally, that the resulting efficiencies present a similar behavior. For each performance regime we obtain explicit equations accounting for lower and upper bounds. The optimization of refrigeration devices is far from being as clear as heat engines, and some remarks on it are finally considered. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

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