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The content of this article was presented as a seminar at the Center for Energy and Propulsion Research, Mechanical Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on 20th April 2011.


In this paper I present some of my thoughts and experiences relating to 'applied thermodynamics' over my career so far. I explain my interest in thermodynamics, describe some topics I have worked on, point out some questions that appear still to be open and outline some ideas for work that could be done. I describe how I was inspired to pursue the area of applied thermodynamics, with reference to a glass, opposed-piston internal combustion engine. I put my heat pump research in the late 1970s briefly into today's context. Some of my research has been in relation to compressors, which are work input devices: progress was made in understanding what happened to the work. Perhaps some conventions in thermodynamics can be challenged, e.g. the convention of taking both 'heat in' and 'work out' as positive. Exergy analysis, rational effciency, finite time thermodynamics and simulation are mentioned. I describe my work on zero-emissions cycles, which was inspired by Evgeny Yantovski. Recently I have worked on the Stirling cycle and cycles for high-performance, 'low thermal efficiency' heat engines. I have a Stirling cycle concept that I would like to develop. All of these things are connected. Symmetry is mentioned and I provide references to some relevant publications, including ones where I have been an author or co-author.