# Rankine Cycle Formula with Working Principle Components and Equations

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Apr 30, 2023
Rankine Cycle Formula with Working Principle Components and Equations

## Rankine Cycle Formula with Working Principle Components and Equations

The Rankine cycle formula is of great importance in power generation, particularly in steam power plants, as it provides a quantitative measure of the efficiency of the power plant. The Rankine cycle is a thermodynamic cycle used to convert thermal energy into mechanical work, and it is the basis for most steam power plants.

## Overview of Rankine Cycle Formula

The Rankine cycle is a thermodynamic cycle commonly used in power plants to generate electricity. It consists of four main components: a boiler, a turbine, a condenser, and a pump. The cycle involves the conversion of thermal energy, usually from combustion of fossil fuels or nuclear reactions, into mechanical energy, which is then used to generate electricity.

## The working principle of Rankine cycle

The Rankine cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that is commonly used in steam power plants to generate electricity. The cycle is based on the principle that when a fluid (usually water) is heated, it expands and can be used to do work. The working principle of the Rankine cycle involves four main processes:

Compression: The cycle begins with the pumping of water from a low-pressure region to a high-pressure region. This process requires energy input but results in an increase in pressure and temperature of the water.

Heating: The high-pressure water is then heated in a boiler to produce high-temperature and high-pressure steam. This steam is used to drive a turbine, which converts the thermal energy of the steam into mechanical energy.

Expansion: The high-pressure steam is expanded through the turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. As the steam expands, its pressure and temperature decrease, and some of its thermal energy is converted into mechanical work.

Cooling: The low-pressure steam is then condensed back into water in a condenser, which is cooled by a coolant (usually water or air). The condensed water is then pumped back to the boiler to be heated again.

The Rankine cycle works by continuously circulating water between the boiler, turbine, condenser, and pump. The cycle is designed to maximize the conversion of thermal energy into mechanical work, which can then be used to generate electricity.

The efficiency of the Rankine cycle depends on the temperature and pressure of the working fluid at various stages of the cycle. Engineers use the Rankine cycle as a basis for designing and optimizing steam power plants to achieve maximum efficiency and output.

## Calculation of thermal efficiency using Rankine cycle

The thermal efficiency of a Rankine cycle is a measure of how much of the thermal energy input is converted into useful work. The thermal efficiency is calculated using the following formula:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%
where:
η = thermal efficiency
W_net = net work output
Q_in = heat input

The net work output, W_net, is calculated as the difference between the work output of the turbine and the work input to the pump. The heat input, Q_in, is the amount of thermal energy supplied to the boiler.

The specific enthalpy (h) values of the working fluid at various points in the cycle are used to calculate the net work output and the heat input. The specific enthalpy is the amount of energy per unit mass of the working fluid, and it is usually measured in units of kJ/kg.

The following steps are used to calculate the thermal efficiency of a Rankine cycle:

Determine the specific enthalpy values of the working fluid at various points in the cycle (e.g., h1, h2, h3, h4). These values can be obtained from steam tables or calculated using thermodynamic equations.

Calculate the net work output, W_net, by subtracting the work input to the pump from the work output of the turbine. The work input to the pump is calculated as the product of the pump’s specific volume (v1) and the pressure difference between the pump’s inlet and outlet.

W_net = (h3 – h4) – (h2 – h1)

Calculate the heat input, Q_in, by multiplying the mass flow rate of the working fluid by the specific enthalpy at the inlet of the boiler.

Q_in = m_dot x (h2 – h1)

Calculate the thermal efficiency, η, using the formula:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%

The thermal efficiency of the Rankine cycle is an important factor in the design and operation of steam power plants, as it determines the amount of electricity that can be generated from a given amount of thermal energy input.

## Ideal Rankine Cycle Vs. Actual Rankine Cycle

The ideal Rankine cycle is a theoretical thermodynamic cycle that assumes no losses due to friction, heat transfer, or other inefficiencies. In contrast, the actual Rankine cycle is a real-world cycle that takes into account various losses and inefficiencies that occur during the operation of a steam power plant.

One major difference between the ideal and actual Rankine cycles is the temperature difference between the heat source and the heat sink. In the ideal cycle, the temperature difference is assumed to be infinite, while in the actual cycle, it is limited by the physical properties of the working fluid and the equipment used in the power plant.

### Other factors that affect the performance of the actual Rankine cycle include:

Boiler inefficiencies: The actual boiler cannot transfer all of the thermal energy from the fuel into the working fluid due to heat losses through the boiler walls, incomplete combustion, and other factors.

Turbine inefficiencies: The actual turbine cannot convert all of the thermal energy of the working fluid into mechanical work due to friction, blade losses, and other factors.

Pump inefficiencies: The actual pump requires a certain amount of energy input to overcome friction and other losses, which reduces the overall efficiency of the cycle.

Condenser inefficiencies: The actual condenser cannot completely condense all of the steam, which results in a lower quality of the working fluid entering the pump.

Due to these losses and inefficiencies, the actual Rankine cycle has a lower thermal efficiency than the ideal cycle. Engineers and operators of steam power plants aim to minimize these losses and improve the efficiency of the actual cycle through various means, such as using better equipment, improving the combustion process, and optimizing the operation of the plant.

## Definition of Rankine Cycle Formula

The Rankine cycle is a thermodynamic cycle used in steam power plants to convert thermal energy into mechanical work. The cycle consists of four main components: a boiler, a turbine, a condenser, and a pump. The working fluid, usually water, is heated in the boiler to produce steam, which drives the turbine and generates mechanical work. The steam is then condensed in the condenser and pumped back to the boiler to repeat the cycle.

The Rankine cycle is represented by a pressure-enthalpy diagram, which shows the changes in pressure and specific enthalpy of the working fluid at various points in the cycle. The thermal efficiency of the Rankine cycle is given by the formula:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%

where η is the thermal efficiency, W_net is the net work output, and Q_in is the heat input. The net work output is the difference between the work output of the turbine and the work input to the pump. The heat input is the amount of thermal energy supplied to the boiler.

The Rankine cycle formula is used to design and analyze steam power plants, and it is an important tool for engineers and operators to optimize the performance of these plants.

## Components of the Rankine Cycle Formula

The Rankine cycle formula includes several components that are used to calculate the thermal efficiency of the cycle. These components include:

Thermal efficiency (η): This is a measure of how much of the thermal energy input is converted into useful work. The thermal efficiency is expressed as a percentage and is calculated using the following formula:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%

Net work output (W_net): This is the difference between the work output of the turbine and the work input to the pump. The net work output is expressed in units of energy, such as joules or kilowatt-hours.

Heat input (Q_in): This is the amount of thermal energy supplied to the boiler. The heat input is expressed in units of energy per unit time, such as joules per second or kilowatts.

The Rankine cycle formula also uses specific enthalpy (h) values of the working fluid at various points in the cycle to calculate the net work output and the heat input. The specific enthalpy is the amount of energy per unit mass of the working fluid, and it is usually measured in units of kJ/kg.

The components of the Rankine cycle formula are used to analyze and optimize the performance of steam power plants, and they provide a quantitative measure of the efficiency of the cycle.

## Equations for Calculating Efficiency

There are several equations used to calculate the efficiency of different systems, such as the thermal efficiency of the Rankine cycle, the efficiency of a heat exchanger, and the overall efficiency of a system. Some of these equations include:

Rankine cycle efficiency:

The thermal efficiency (η) of the Rankine cycle is given by:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%
where W_net is the net work output of the cycle and Q_in is the heat input.

Heat exchanger efficiency:

The effectiveness (ε) and the heat transfer coefficient (U) are used to calculate the efficiency of a heat exchanger. The efficiency (η) is given by:

η = (Q_actual / Q_max) x 100%

where Q_actual is the actual heat transfer rate and Q_max is the maximum possible heat transfer rate. The maximum possible heat transfer rate is calculated using the heat capacity rate of the hot fluid and the temperature difference between the hot and cold fluids. The effectiveness (ε) is given by:

ε = (Q_actual / Q_max)
and the heat transfer coefficient (U) is given by:
U = Q_max / (A x ΔT_lm)

where A is the heat transfer area and ΔT_lm is the logarithmic mean temperature difference.
Overall system efficiency:

The overall efficiency (η_sys) of a system is given by:

η_sys = (Useful output / Total input) x 100%

where the useful output is the energy or work output of the system that is used for its intended purpose, and the total input is the energy or work input to the system, including losses due to inefficiencies or unused energy.

These equations are commonly used in thermodynamics and heat transfer analysis to determine the efficiency of different systems and components.

## Importance of Rankine Cycle Formula in Power Generation

The Rankine cycle formula is used to calculate the thermal efficiency of the power plant, which is a measure of how much of the thermal energy input is converted into useful work. The thermal efficiency is expressed as a percentage and is calculated using the formula:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%

where W_net is the net work output of the cycle and Q_in is the heat input.

By analyzing the Rankine cycle and calculating its thermal efficiency, engineers and operators can optimize the performance of the steam power plant. This includes selecting the appropriate working fluid, designing the boiler, turbine, and condenser to achieve maximum efficiency, and operating the plant under the most favorable conditions.

The Rankine cycle formula also plays a critical role in the design and operation of other power generation systems, such as combined cycle power plants and geothermal power plants, which use variations of the Rankine cycle. Additionally, the Rankine cycle formula is a fundamental concept in thermodynamics and is taught in most engineering and physics curricula.

## Examples of Rankine Cycle Calculations

Here are some examples of Rankine cycle calculations:

Example 1:

A steam power plant operates on the Rankine cycle with a steam turbine inlet temperature of 600°C and a condenser pressure of 0.08 MPa. The steam is superheated to 600°C before entering the turbine, and the boiler pressure is 15 MPa. Calculate the thermal efficiency of the cycle.
Solution:

First, we need to determine the specific enthalpy of the steam at various points in the cycle. Using steam tables, we can find that the specific enthalpy of the steam at the turbine inlet is 3500 kJ/kg, and the specific enthalpy at the condenser outlet is 214 kJ/kg. The specific enthalpy of the water at the boiler inlet is 650 kJ/kg.

Using the Rankine cycle formula, we can calculate the thermal efficiency:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100%

where W_net is the net work output of the cycle, and Q_in is the heat input.

The net work output is given by the difference between the turbine inlet enthalpy and the condenser outlet enthalpy:

W_net = h1 – h2 = 3500 – 214 = 3286 kJ/kg

The heat input is given by the difference between the enthalpy at the boiler inlet and the enthalpy at the condenser outlet:

Q_in = h3 – h2 = 650 – 214 = 436 kJ/kg

Thus, the thermal efficiency of the cycle is:

η = (W_net / Q_in) x 100% = (3286 / 436) x 100% = 752.5%

Example 2:

A steam power plant operates on the Rankine cycle with a boiler pressure of 10 MPa and a condenser pressure of 0.1 MPa. The steam is superheated to 600°C before entering the turbine, and the specific volume of the steam at the turbine inlet is 0.25 m3/kg. Calculate the quality of the steam at the turbine exhaust.

Solution:

Using the Rankine cycle, we can determine the specific enthalpy at various points in the cycle. Using steam tables, we can find that the specific enthalpy of the steam at the turbine inlet is 3500 kJ/kg. Since the specific volume at the turbine inlet is given, we can calculate the specific entropy using the steam tables:

s1 = 7.575 kJ/kg·K

At the turbine exhaust, the pressure is 0.1 MPa, and the specific volume is given by the quality (x):

v2 = (x x vf) + (1-x) x vg

where vf and vg are the specific volumes of the saturated liquid and vapor at the given pressure. Using steam tables, we can find that:
vf = 0.001043 m3/kg
vg = 1.6947 m3/kg

Substituting the values, we get:
0.25 = (x x 0.001043) + ((1-x) x 1.6947)
Solving for x, we get:
x = 0.909

Thus, the quality of the steam at the turbine exhaust is 0.909.

## FAQs About Rankine Cycle Formula

### What Is Rankine Cycle Formula?

The Rankine cycle formula is used to calculate the thermal efficiency of a steam power plant. The formula is based on the principle of converting thermal energy into mechanical work using steam as the working fluid.

### What is the difference between Carnot and Rankine cycle?

The main difference between the Carnot and Rankine cycles is the working fluid. The Carnot cycle is a theoretical cycle that uses an ideal gas as the working fluid, while the Rankine cycle uses water or steam as the working fluid.

Another difference is the process of heat transfer. In the Carnot cycle, heat transfer occurs isothermally, while in the Rankine cycle, heat transfer occurs at constant pressure. The Carnot cycle has a higher theoretical efficiency than the Rankine cycle, but the Rankine cycle is more practical for power generation because it is easier to implement and uses water, which is readily available and inexpensive.

### Is Rankine cycle a steam cycle?

Yes, the Rankine cycle is a type of steam cycle used for power generation. It is named after Scottish engineer William Rankine, who first described the cycle in the 19th century. The cycle uses water or steam as the working fluid and consists of four main components: a boiler, a turbine, a condenser, and a pump.

### How to improve the efficiency of the Rankine cycle?

One way to improve the efficiency of the Rankine cycle is to increase the boiler temperature and decrease the condenser temperature.

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