The Rankine cycle is an idealized thermodynamic cycle describing the process by which certain heat engines, such as steam turbines or reciprocating steam engines, allow mechanical work to be extracted from a fluid as it moves between a heat source and heat sink. The Rankine cycle is named after William John Macquorn Rankine, a Scottish polymath professor at Glasgow University.
Heat energy is supplied to the system via a boiler where the working fluid (typically water) is converted to a high pressure gaseous state (steam) in order to turn a turbine. After passing over the turbine the fluid is allowed to condense back into a liquid state as waste heat energy is rejected before being returned to the boiler, completing the cycle. Friction losses throughout the system are often neglected for the purpose of simplifying calculations as such losses are usually much less significant than thermodynamic losses, especially in larger systems.
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