Optimization of a heat engine based on dissipative system
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A new class of heat engine is analyzed in which the working fluid operates in a dissipative process, never in equilibrium. The conditions are found for stability and for the generation of work. Then the optimal path is found for operating the general dissipative engine by means of optimal control theory. The optimal cycle consists of arcs of constant power and of approximately instantaneous adiabats. If the heat flow is a function of temperature only, then the constant power arcs become isotherms. An upper bound is found to the power output.Two examples are worked out in detail: a light‐driven dissipative engine whose absorption is a step function of temperature, and a light‐driven dissipative engine whose working fluid undergoes a chemical reaction (isomerization), absorbing light in the isomeric form favored at high temperatures.