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Is there any use in engineering for this kind of very abstract models other than setting an unachievable upper bound on the possible efficiency of heat engines? Can they help in the design of more efficient heat engines?

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  • $\begingroup$ It's the most basic cycle in the T-S diagram (i.e. a rectangle), so it's fundamental in principle. This makes it essential as the basis for analysis methods. It's also a reference against which thermodynamic efficiency can be measured. The combination of non-dimensional temperature ratios or pressure ratios, plus a dimensional quantity like air flow or fuel flow, plus how the efficiencies vary with the conditions, can be used to study scaling and is a powerful approach for systems design by scaling relationships, when engines or thermal machinery play an important part - esp. in aerospace. $\endgroup$
    – Pete W
    Apr 9 at 20:40

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They help in the design of a heat engine in that they help you learn what one is. The same way Physics 1 helps you design a rocket ship.

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