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The Evolution of the Heat Engine

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0965245524
ISBN-10: 0965245527
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Moriya Pr (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965245527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965245524
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 13.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,830,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Spiral-bound
What could be drier than "The Evolution of the Heat Engine" (Thermodynamic Atlas 2, when it was first published)? Perhaps "Thermodynamics Atlas 1" by the same author. As it turns out both are completely engrossing and completely original. Atlas 1 does need a little grounding in classical thermodynamics for the reader (viewer?) to make progress but The Evolution of the Heat Engine tells a wonderful story to any inquisitive reader.
Both books exploit pictures, diagrams and graphs to the full - in Atlas 1 almost to the complete exclusion of text, in this volume the sparse text is used to complement the illustrations. These illustrations are not the empty, space filling bubbles and arrows from business guru texts, they are the meat of the work. They deliver real information and understanding, enormous amounts of it. More than that all the graphs, drawings and calculations are in Kolin's own hand, immaculately executed and composed. When you find yourself spending a long time on one page, it is not because it is difficult to understand, it is because there is so much to learn from it.
This book tells the story of one of the most important of man's self made artefacts, picking its way elegantly and informatively through the science needed to explain the behaviour (often anti-intuitive) of guns and rockets, steam engines and Sterling engines and many, many more, whilst giving a carefully distilled description of their mechanical manifestation. I know of no other book with which to compare it. (Wainwright's famous Guides to the English Lake District have a similar flavour, perhaps, but in a very different field.)
There cannot be many books about thermodynamics which can be read for pure pleasure, perhaps this is the only one.
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Format: Spiral-bound
This one gets five stars just because I have never seen a book like this before. Not really a textbook, nor an essay, it is more a work of art, finding and creating beauty in equations and graphs and charts, all created by the hand of the author. One expecting a systematic narrative technical history would be sorely dissapointed. This book is more a celebration of an idea - the general concept of the heat engine and the idea the work can be done by the flow of heat from some area of high temperature to some area of low temperature.

The organization of the book is idiosyncratic in the extreme. First "modern" (up through the 1970s) heat engines (starting with the Wankel!)are covered in the format of short wide pages with illustrations and calligraphically hand written equations on the left and a column of accompanying text on the right. Then rockets (ultimately very powerful though not very efficient heat engines) are covered from Tsiolkovsky and Goddard to Apollo 11. Apparently enamoured of the topic Kolin then spends eight pages talking about orbital flight, near Earth gravitational fields and other topics with no apparent connection to heat engines. Next there is the more or less narrative section with 30 pages taking us from Newcomen to Diesel. Then follows a section on Thermodynamic theory followed by a set of chart pages that attempt to summarize and classify heat engines in general. The last pages comprise a couple of T - s charts for air and then a charming reproduction in small scale of many of the title pages of old reference journals referring to heat engines described in the text and finally some references.

I would strongly advise you not to try to read this book front to back but just dip in where your are interested and see where it takes you.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I'd like to start out by saying that I'm not an engineer. I bought this book more out of interest. This book has some very interesting designs of older heat engines, including the wests historical fascination with vacuum power rather than pressure power. The work is well illustrated and the engines are presented in an easy to understand fashion. Highly recommended for anyone with a technical bent.
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