heat engine


: a mechanism (such as an internal combustion engine) for converting heat energy into mechanical or electrical energy

Examples of heat engine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Heat switches can boost the efficiency of entire classes of heat engines, such as solar thermal power plants, which use heat from the sun to generate electricity. IEEE Spectrum, 17 Feb. 2023 In theory this process could create a small temperature imbalance, and therefore a useful heat engine, if the demon was smart about when to end the experiment and lock any temperature imbalance in place, much as a smart gambler on a hot streak knows when to leave the table. Quanta Magazine, 22 Apr. 2021 In 1823, Sadi Carnot (1796–1832) wanted to understand why a heat engine (like your car engine) is so inefficient at converting heat into work. Scott Bembenek, Discover Magazine, 7 June 2017 Carnot found that even a perfect heat engine (without frictional heat loss among the moving parts), can’t achieve 100% efficiency whereby all the heat is converted to work. Scott Bembenek, Discover Magazine, 7 June 2017 The theory of the hurricane heat engine places an upper limit on hurricane wind speeds. Kerry Emanuel, Discover Magazine, 24 Aug. 2015 Hurricanes are enormous heat engines that deliver energy on a staggering scale. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, 12 June 2019 The thermionic diode heat engine invented by Nottingham and Hatsopoulos in the 1950s finally went all the way and produced power with no moving parts. Charles A. Berg, The New York Review of Books, 6 June 2019 Then, when electricity is needed again, the system reunites the molten salt with the cold fluid, using a heat engine to reconvert the thermal energy to electricity, which can be sent back to the grid. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, 24 Dec. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heat engine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1895, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heat engine was circa 1895

Dictionary Entries Near heat engine

Cite this Entry

“Heat engine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heat%20engine. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

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