• Clifford Truesdell
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 70)


Two years after FOURIER’s treatise, in 1824, appeared CARNOT’s Reflections on the Motive of Fire, and on Machines Fitted to Develop that Power. In the opening pages CARNOT stated that “the phenomenon of the production of motion by heat has not been studied from a sufficiently general point of view.” It was necessary, he wrote, to “establish principles applicable not only to steam-engines but also to all imaginable heat-engines...” Purely mechanical machines, CARNOT recalled, could be “studied even in their smallest details” by means of “the mechanical theory. All cases are foreseen, all imaginable movements are referred to these general principles, firmly established and applicable under all circumstances. This is the character of a complete theory. A similar theory is evidently needed for heat-engines. We shall have it only when the laws of physics shall be extended enough, generalized enough, to make known beforehand all the effects of heat acting in a determined manner on any body”.


Motive Power Classical Thermodynamic CARNOT Cycle Determined Manner Adiabatic Change 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford Truesdell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BaltimoreUSA

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