The Road to Entropy – The Newcomen and Watt “Steam” Engines (videos)

The road to entropy began with the 18th century development of the “steam” engine by Thomas Newcomen and James Watt. But steam was not the driving force in these engines. So what was? And what was the purpose of the steam? Check out this video for the answers:

Note the shout-out in the video to Professor Bill Snyder, Bucknell University. Back in 1979, he demonstrated a pretty cool phenomenon in our chemical engineering class that I had fun repeating for this video.

For those of you interested in my kitchen experiment, I isolate it for you here:

I go into more detail about the origins of the steam engine in my book Block by Block – The Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Thermodynamics.

Published by Robert T Hanlon

I earned my Sc.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and subsequently conducted post-doctoral research at Karlsruhe University in Germany. My professional career took me to Mobil Oil Research & Development Corporation, the Rohm and Haas Company, and then back to MIT where I am currently involved with their School of Chemical Engineering Practice.

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