Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Definition: A cycle of operations in a heat engine. The Rankine cycle more closely approximates to the cycle of a real steam engine than does the Carnot cycle. It therefore predicts a lower ideal thermal efficiency than the Carnot cycle. In the Rankine cycle, heat is added at constant pressure p1, at which water is converted in a boiler to superheated steam; the steam expands at constant entropy to a pressure p2 in a condenser; the water so formed is compressed at constant entropy to pressure p1 by a feed pump. The cycle was devised by the Scottish engineer W. J. M. Rankine (1820-70).