## Photon carnot engine

• Carnot engine Work Energy Entropy
• assignment Radiation in an empty box

assignment Homework

##### Radiation in an empty box
Thermal physics Radiation Free energy Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

As discussed in class, we can consider a black body as a large box with a small hole in it. If we treat the large box a metal cube with side length $L$ and metal walls, the frequency of each normal mode will be given by: \begin{align} \omega_{n_xn_yn_z} &= \frac{\pi c}{L}\sqrt{n_x^2 + n_y^2 + n_z^2} \end{align} where each of $n_x$, $n_y$, and $n_z$ will have positive integer values. This simply comes from the fact that a half wavelength must fit in the box. There is an additional quantum number for polarization, which has two possible values, but does not affect the frequency. Note that in this problem I'm using different boundary conditions from what I use in class. It is worth learning to work with either set of quantum numbers. Each normal mode is a harmonic oscillator, with energy eigenstates $E_n = n\hbar\omega$ where we will not include the zero-point energy $\frac12\hbar\omega$, since that energy cannot be extracted from the box. (See the Casimir effect for an example where the zero point energy of photon modes does have an effect.)

Note
This is a slight approximation, as the boundary conditions for light are a bit more complicated. However, for large $n$ values this gives the correct result.

1. Show that the free energy is given by \begin{align} F &= 8\pi \frac{V(kT)^4}{h^3c^3} \int_0^\infty \ln\left(1-e^{-\xi}\right)\xi^2d\xi \\ &= -\frac{8\pi^5}{45} \frac{V(kT)^4}{h^3c^3} \\ &= -\frac{\pi^2}{45} \frac{V(kT)^4}{\hbar^3c^3} \end{align} provided the box is big enough that $\frac{\hbar c}{LkT}\ll 1$. Note that you may end up with a slightly different dimensionless integral that numerically evaluates to the same result, which would be fine. I also do not expect you to solve this definite integral analytically, a numerical confirmation is fine. However, you must manipulate your integral until it is dimensionless and has all the dimensionful quantities removed from it!

2. Show that the entropy of this box full of photons at temperature $T$ is \begin{align} S &= \frac{32\pi^5}{45} k V \left(\frac{kT}{hc}\right)^3 \\ &= \frac{4\pi^2}{45} k V \left(\frac{kT}{\hbar c}\right)^3 \end{align}

3. Show that the internal energy of this box full of photons at temperature $T$ is \begin{align} \frac{U}{V} &= \frac{8\pi^5}{15}\frac{(kT)^4}{h^3c^3} \\ &= \frac{\pi^2}{15}\frac{(kT)^4}{\hbar^3c^3} \end{align}

• assignment Heat shields

assignment Homework

##### Heat shields
Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody radiation Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 A black (nonreflective) sheet of metal at high temperature $T_h$ is parallel to a cold black sheet of metal at temperature $T_c$. Each sheet has an area $A$ which is much greater than the distance between them. The sheets are in vacuum, so energy can only be transferred by radiation.
1. Solve for the net power transferred between the two sheets.

2. A third black metal sheet is inserted between the other two and is allowed to come to a steady state temperature $T_m$. Find the temperature of the middle sheet, and solve for the new net power transferred between the hot and cold sheets. This is the principle of the heat shield, and is part of how the James Web telescope shield works.
3. Optional: Find the power through an $N$-layer sandwich.

• assignment Light bulb in a refrigerator

assignment Homework

##### Light bulb in a refrigerator
Carnot refridgerator Work Entropy Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 A 100W light bulb is left burning inside a Carnot refridgerator that draws 100W. Can the refridgerator cool below room temperature?
• assignment Heat pump

assignment Homework

##### Heat pump
Carnot efficiency Work Entropy Heat pump Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020
1. Show that for a reversible heat pump the energy required per unit of heat delivered inside the building is given by the Carnot efficiency: \begin{align} \frac{W}{Q_H} &= \eta_C = \frac{T_H-T_C}{T_H} \end{align} What happens if the heat pump is not reversible?

2. Assume that the electricity consumed by a reversible heat pump must itself be generated by a Carnot engine operating between the even hotter temperature $T_{HH}$ and the cold (outdoors) temperature $T_C$. What is the ratio $\frac{Q_{HH}}{Q_H}$ of the heat consumed at $T_{HH}$ (i.e. fuel burned) to the heat delivered at $T_H$ (in the house we want to heat)? Give numerical values for $T_{HH}=600\text{K}$; $T_{H}=300\text{K}$; $T_{C}=270\text{K}$.

3. Draw an energy-entropy flow diagram for the combination heat engine-heat pump, similar to Figures 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4 in the text (or the equivalent but sloppier) figures in the course notes. However, in this case we will involve no external work at all, only energy and entropy flows at three temperatures, since the work done is all generated from heat.

• face Work, Heat, and cycles

face Lecture

120 min.

##### Work, Heat, and cycles
Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

These lecture notes covering week 8 of Thermal and Statistical Physics include a small group activity in which students derive the Carnot efficiency.
• face Thermal radiation and Planck distribution

face Lecture

120 min.

##### Thermal radiation and Planck distribution
Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

These notes from the fourth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover blackbody radiation and the Planck distribution. They include a number of small group activities.
• face Basics of heat engines

face Lecture

10 min.

##### Basics of heat engines
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years) This brief lecture covers the basics of heat engines.
• assignment Power Plant on a River

assignment Homework

##### Power Plant on a River
efficiency heat engine carnot Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

At a power plant that produces 1 GW ($10^{9} \text{watts}$) of electricity, the steam turbines take in steam at a temperature of $500^{o}C$, and the waste energy is expelled into the environment at $20^{o}C$.

1. What is the maximum possible efficiency of this plant?

2. Suppose you arrange the power plant to expel its waste energy into a chilly mountain river at $15^oC$. Roughly how much money can you make in a year by installing your improved hardware, if you sell the additional electricity for 10 cents per kilowatt-hour?

3. At what rate will the plant expel waste energy into this river?

4. Assume the river's flow rate is 100 m$^{3}/$s. By how much will the temperature of the river increase?

5. To avoid this “thermal pollution” of the river the plant could instead be cooled by evaporation of river water. This is more expensive, but it is environmentally preferable. At what rate must the water evaporate? What fraction of the river must be evaporated?

• assignment Energy of a relativistic Fermi gas

assignment Homework

##### Energy of a relativistic Fermi gas
Fermi gas Relativity Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

For electrons with an energy $\varepsilon\gg mc^2$, where $m$ is the mass of the electron, the energy is given by $\varepsilon\approx pc$ where $p$ is the momentum. For electrons in a cube of volume $V=L^3$ the momentum takes the same values as for a non-relativistic particle in a box.

1. Show that in this extreme relativistic limit the Fermi energy of a gas of $N$ electrons is given by \begin{align} \varepsilon_F &= \hbar\pi c\left(\frac{3n}{\pi}\right)^{\frac13} \end{align} where $n\equiv \frac{N}{V}$ is the number density.

2. Show that the total energy of the ground state of the gas is \begin{align} U_0 &= \frac34 N\varepsilon_F \end{align}

• assignment Power from the Ocean

assignment Homework

##### Power from the Ocean
heat engine efficiency Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

It has been proposed to use the thermal gradient of the ocean to drive a heat engine. Suppose that at a certain location the water temperature is $22^\circ$C at the ocean surface and $4^{o}$C at the ocean floor.

1. What is the maximum possible efficiency of an engine operating between these two temperatures?

2. If the engine is to produce 1 GW of electrical power, what minimum volume of water must be processed every second? Note that the specific heat capacity of water $c_p = 4.2$ Jg$^{-1}$K$^{-1}$ and the density of water is 1 g cm$^{-3}$, and both are roughly constant over this temperature range.

• Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

In our week on radiation, we saw that the Helmholtz free energy of a box of radiation at temperature $T$ is \begin{align} F &= -8\pi \frac{V(kT)^4}{h^3c^3}\frac{\pi^4}{45} \end{align} From this we also found the internal energy and entropy \begin{align} U &= 24\pi \frac{(kT)^4}{h^3c^3}\frac{\pi^4}{45} V \\ S &= 32\pi kV\left(\frac{kT}{hc}\right)^3 \frac{\pi^4}{45} \end{align} Given these results, let us consider a Carnot engine that uses an empty metalic piston (i.e. a photon gas).

1. Given $T_H$ and $T_C$, as well as $V_1$ and $V_2$ (the two volumes at $T_H$), determine $V_3$ and $V_4$ (the two volumes at $T_C$).

2. What is the heat $Q_H$ taken up and the work done by the gas during the first isothermal expansion? Are they equal to each other, as for the ideal gas?

3. Does the work done on the two isentropic stages cancel each other, as for the ideal gas?

4. Calculate the total work done by the gas during one cycle. Compare it with the heat taken up at $T_H$ and show that the energy conversion efficiency is the Carnot efficiency.