Adiabitic vs. Isentropic Process
In comparison to the isentropic process in which the entropy of the fluid or gas remains constant, in the adiabatic process the entropy changes. Therefore the adiabatic process is considered to be irreversible process. The isentropic process is a special case of an adiabatic process. The isentropic process is a reversible adiabatic process. An isentropic process can also be called a constant entropy process. In engineering such an idealized process is very useful for comparison with real processes.
One way to make real processes approximate reversible process is to carry out the process in a series of small or infinitesimal steps or infinitely slowly, so that the process can be considered as a series of equilibrium states. For example, heat transfer may be considered reversible if it occurs due to a small temperature difference between the system and its surroundings. But real processes are not done infinitely slowly. Reversible processes are a useful and convenient theoretical fiction, but do not occur in nature. For example, there could be turbulence in the gas. Therefore, heat engines must have lower efficiencies than limits on their efficiency due to the inherent irreversibility of the heat engine cycle they use.
Isentropic Efficiency – Turbine, Compressor, Nozzle
In previous chapters we assumed that the gas expansion is isentropic and therefore we used T4,is as the outlet temperature of the gas. These assumptions are only applicable with ideal cycles.
Most steady-flow devices (turbines, compressors, nozzles) operate under adiabatic conditions, but they are not truly isentropic but are rather idealized as isentropic for calculation purposes. We define parameters ηT, ηC, ηN, as a ratio of real work done by device to work by device when operated under isentropic conditions (in case of turbine). This ratio is known as the Isentropic Turbine/Compressor/Nozzle Efficiency.
These parameters describe how efficiently a turbine, compressor or nozzle approximates a corresponding isentropic device. This parameter reduces the overall efficiency and work output. For turbines, the value of ηT is typically 0.7 to 0.9 (70–90%).