French engineer and physicist. Developed the physical elements of the steam engine using a thought-experiment (carnot cycle).
He conceived that heat is a result of the movements of small particles and calculated (a long time before R. Mayer) the mechanical equivalent of heat.
In his "Réflexions sur la puissance du feu et sur les machines propres à développer cette puissance" (Paris, 1824), he showed that the work produced by a steam engine is proportional to the heat transferred from the boiler to the condenser, and that in general work could only be gained from heat by a transfer from a warmer to a colder body. (Carnot's law, was later modified by R. Clausius to the second law of thermodynamics.)
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