Carnot cycle

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The Carnot cycle is a hypothetical cycle in which the efficiency is a maximum. It was proposed by Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot [1]. The Carnot cycle consists of four distinct operations:

  1. A reversible isothermal expansion of the gas at the "hot" temperature, THot
  2. An isentropic reversible adiabatic expansion of the gas
  3. A reversible isothermal compression of the gas at the "cold" temperature, TCold
  4. Finally an isentropic compression of the gas

See also[edit]


  1. Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot "Reflexions sur la Puissance Motrice de Feu et sur les Machines Propres a Développer cette Puissance" (1824), printed in Annales scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure Sér. 2, 1 pp. 393-457 (1872)