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First Law of Thermodynamics

The First Law of Thermodynamics is a particular statement based on the principles of law of
conservation of energy according to which the total amount of energy in any thermodynamic system remains
constant i.e. “Energy cannot be created or destroyed”. None of the energy is gained or expended in the sense
it is converted from one form to another. Initially the statement of conservation of energy was quantitatively
analyzed for thermodynamic systems by J.P. Joule during the period of eighteen forties which has led to the
statement of First law of thermodynamics.

Application of First Law of Thermodynamics

1. Thermodynamics Cycle
2. Carnot Cycle
3. Otto Cycle
4. Diesel Cycle
5. Rankine Cycle


FIGURE 01: A Cycle

The process which runs from the initial state and returns to that initial after the gas does work in called Cycle.

FIGURE 02: Random cyle in p - V Diagram

 In the process a - b, the gas expands in adiabatic process and the work done by the gas is the area of
plane abV2Vp its value is negative.
 In process b - c the compressed gas in isothermal process is the area of plane bcV1V2, its value is positive.
 In process c - a . The gas does not do any work because its volume is constant.
 The process c – a is an isochoric process which is done to make the gas return to its initial state.

FIGURE 03: Random cyle in p - V Diagram

The total external work done by the gas in one cycle a – b – c – a is the area of plane abca.

A thermodynamics cycle can occur in a heat engine, such as otto engine, diesel engine, and steam
engine. In an Otto engine, the cycle occurring is called Otto cycle. In a diesel engine, the cycle occurring is called
diesel cycle. While in a steam engine, the cycle occurring is called Rankine cycle.


This Carnot engine is assumed as an ideal heat engine which works cyclically and is reversible between
two temperatures without any loss of energy. This imaginary Carnot engine consist of cylinder containing ideal
gas that can move alternatingly in the cylinder.
FIGURE 04: Working process of Carnot Engine

Figure 8.16 shows the work process of Carnot engine to produce Carnot cycle. Entire of process in the Carnot
cycle can be represented in pressure (P) against volume (V) graph as follows.

FIGURE 05: Carnot Cycle

Step 1. The engine absorbs heat from the heat source or high temperature reservoir T 1 so that the ideaL gas in
the engine experiences isothermal expansion (temperature of system is equal to temperature of reservoir). The
expanded gas applies a work on the piston, so that the gas volume are changes from v1 to v2. This expansion is
shown in Figure 8.16, with changes from state a to b along an isothermal graph. During this isothermal gas
expansion, the gas receives heat equal to Q
FIGURE 05: Carnot Cycle

Step 2. The heat source is removed so that there is no heat input to the system. The gas still expands
adiabatically and applies works to change gas volume from V2 to V3 In this process the gas temperature
decreases to T2. This process is shown in Figure 8.16 with change of state from b to c along an adiabatic

FIGURE 05: Carnot Cycle

Step 3. The gas experiences isothermal compression by giving away an amount of Q 2 heat the low
temperature reservoir T2, In this process, the gas volume decreases from v3 to v4. This compression is shown
in Figure 8.16, with change of state from c to d along an isothermal graph.
FIGURE 05: Carnot Cycle

Step 4. The gas experiences adiabatic. compression and returns to its initial state. In this process, a work is
applied on the gas so that the gas volume decreases from V4 to V1. This compression is shown in Figure 8.l6,
with change of state from d to a along an adiabatic graph.

Total work which done by gas in one cycle is equal to wide of area in cycle.

Because during process of Carnot cycle the gas accept kalor Q1 from high temperature reservoir and
free a heat Q2 to low temperature reservoir. Hence the work is done by gas according to first law of
Thermodynamic is

Q = U + W atau Q1 - Q2 = 0 + W

W = Q1 − Q2


The Otto engine was made by Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891), a technician born in Holzhausen,
Germany. This Otto engine is usually used in automobiles and airplanes.

An Otto cycle is an idealized thermodynamics cycle which describes the functioning of a typical spark
ignition reciprocating piston engine.

The Otto cycle is constructed out of: TOP and BOTTOM of the loop: a pair of parallel adiabatic
processes. LEFRT and RIGHT sides of the loop. A pair of parallel isochoric processes.

Otto Cycle
a – b and c – d process : adiabatic process
b – c and d – a process : isochoric process


The Diesel engine was made by the German engineer Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913). The
Diesel cycle is the thermodynamic cycle which approximates the pressure and volume of the combustion
chamber of the Diesel engine.

The Diesel engine is usually used in electric generators, trucks, buses, and several types of cars.

Diesel Cycle

a – b process : isobaric process

b – c and d – a process : adiabatic process

c – d process : isochoric process


The Rankine engine was made by William John Macquorn Rankine, a Scottish polymath and Glasgow
University professor.

 The Rankine cycle is a cycle that converts heat into work.

 The Rankine cycle is the fundamental thermodynamic underpinning of the steam engine.
 The Rankine cycle is sometimes referred to as practical Carnot cycle because, when an efficient turbine is
used, the TS diagram begins to resemble the Carnot cycle. The main difference is that heat addition (in the
boiler) and rejection (in the condenser) are isobaric in the Rankine cycle and isothermal in the theoretical
Carnot cycle.