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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 30, 2020

Endoreversible Otto Engines at Maximal Power

  • Zackary Smith , Priyo S. Pal and Sebastian Deffner ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Despite its idealizations, thermodynamics has proven its power as a predictive theory for practical applications. In particular, the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency provides a benchmark for any real engine operating at maximal power. Here we further develop the analysis of endoreversible Otto engines. For a generic class of working mediums, whose internal energy is proportional to some power of the temperature, we find that no engine can achieve the Carnot efficiency at finite power. However, we also find that for the specific example of photonic engines the efficiency at maximal power is higher than the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency.

Award Identifier / Grant number: FQXi-RFP-1808

Funding statement: This research was supported by the Foundational Questions Institute (grant number FQXi-RFP-1808) and the Fetzer Franklin Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.


This work was conducted as part of the Undergraduate Research Program (Z.S.) in the Department of Physics at UMBC.


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Received: 2020-03-24
Revised: 2020-04-27
Accepted: 2020-05-15
Published Online: 2020-05-30
Published in Print: 2020-07-26

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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