High School Physics : Understanding Heat Engines

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Physics

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Thermodynamics

A Carnot Cycle operates using a heat reservoir at a temperature of  and a cold reservoir at a temperature of . What is the operating efficiency, , of this cycle, to the nearest percent? 

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:


The efficiency of a Carnot Cycle is defined by:

In this calculation, temperatures are given in Kelvin. Since Celsius and Kelvin exist in a one-to-one ratio, a conversion is unnecessary unless desired. We will perform the conversion, since most classes will advise it.

Using these values, we can calculate the efficiency:

Convert this value to a percentage:

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