Molecular kinetic analysis of a local equilibrium Carnot cycle
AbstractWe identify a velocity distribution function of ideal gas particles that is compatible with the local equilibrium assumption and the fundamental thermodynamic relation satisfying the endoreversibility. We find that this distribution is a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution with a spatially uniform temperature and a spatially varying local center-of-mass velocity. We construct the local equilibrium Carnot cycle of an ideal gas, based on this distribution, and show that the efficiency of the present cycle is given by the endoreversible Carnot efficiency using the molecular kinetic temperatures of the gas. We also obtain an analytic expression of the efficiency at maximum power of our cycle under a small temperature difference. Our theory is also confirmed by a molecular dynamics simulation.