Thermal Efficiency Apparatus - TD-8564



The Thermal Efficiency Apparatus is a real heat engine that can be used to investigate and clarify the principles at work in Carnot's ideal heat engine. Like Carnot's model, it can be operated as a heat engine, converting heat into work, or operated in reverse as a heat pump, transferring heat from a cold source to a hot source. Results are typically accurate to better than 5%.

Typical Experiments:

  1. Real Efficiency vs. Temperature Difference
  2. Carnot Efficiency
  3. Heat Pump Coefficient of Performance
  4. Thermal Conductivity
  5. Load of Optimum Performance

How It Works

The key element is a Peltier device, a semiconductor that turns thermal energy into electrical energy. The device is sandwiched between two blocks of aluminum which act as the hot and cold reservoirs. One block is water-cooled using the built-in pump. The other is electrically heated. A thermistor is implanted in each block so temperatures can be measured with a digital ohmmeter.

The energy supplied to this heat engine is the electrical energy used to heat the aluminum block. The heat engine does work by running a current through the load resistor. Both the energy in and the work out are easily determined by measuring currents and voltages.

Then it's simple to calculate the real efficiency of the engine (power out/power in) as a function of the operating temperatures. By investigating other modes of operation, energy losses can be measured. Students can use these results to determine the Carnot efficiency and to compare it with the theoretical value for each set of operating temperatures.

Buying Guide

Triple Output Power Supply
Basic Digital Multimeter

You will need four (4) of the Basic Digital Multimeter

Triple Output Power Supply   SE-8587
Basic Digital Multimeter (4 required)   SE-9786A
AC Adapter (9 V, 500mA)
Replacement Parts
AC Adapter (9 V, 500mA)   540-007