Definitions of Reversible and Irreversible Processes
What is the maximum efficiency for a heat engine?
To determine the maximum efficiency of a heat engine we need to define an ideal process and determine the efficiency of such a process. The ideal process is called a reversible process.
It is important to realize that reversible processes are ideal processes and no real process is completely reversible. This leads us to the definition of an irreversible process.
processes in which both the system and its surroundings can be simultaneously returned to their initial states after the process has been completed.
processes in which the system and its surroundings cannot be simultaneously returned to their initial states after the process has been completed.
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