The Road to Entropy – Sadi Carnot’s use of analogy to create his “flawed” masterpiece (video)

The commercialization of the high-pressure steam engines by the Cornish Engineers of Britain inspired Sadi Carnot, a French military engineer, to analyze these engines and seek the theories to guide their improvement.

If you’re interested in doing a deep dive into Sadi Carnot’s work, here are two excellent references.

Carnot, Sadi, E Clapeyron, and R Clausius. 1988. Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire by Sadi Carnot and Other Papers on the Second Law of Thermodynamics by E. Clapeyron and R. Clausius. Edited with an Introduction by E. Mendoza. Edited by E Mendoza. Mineola (N.Y.): Dover.
Carnot, Sadi. 1986. Reflexions on the Motive Power of Fire. Edited and translated by Robert Fox. University Press.

I go into much more depth on Sadi Carnot’s work, including a detailed analysis of his eponymous heat cycle, in my book Block by Block – The Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Thermodynamics.

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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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