People learned to use heat to perform any mechanical work several centuries ago. For the operation of thermal engines, fuel is almost always needed, which burns and forms an exhaust. Thus, environmental pollution occurs.
What is a heat engine?
Heat engines are called engines and simpler mechanisms that use thermal energy to perform certain functions. This term is very broad and includes many different devices from a steam heating boiler to a diesel engine of a main diesel locomotive.
Mechanisms that use heat in one way or another surround us every day. Strictly speaking, even an ordinary refrigerator falls under the definition of a heat engine, as it works with heat. He transfers it from the refrigerator to the “radiator” mounted on the back wall, thereby imperceptibly heating the air in the room. However, the refrigerator does not create any emissions, which cannot be said about most other thermal mechanisms.
How a heat engine works?
The principle of operation of mechanisms that use heat is different. But most of them have one thing in common: they burn fuel and form smoke. It consists of unburned fuel particles, since 100% combustion is impossible in most conditions.
The essence of a heat engine can be easily understood using the example of a steam locomotive. This locomotive, which is no longer seen on regular rail routes, is based on a large water tank and a firebox. Coal is used as fuel, which, when burned, heats water. That, in turn, begins to turn into steam, pushing the pistons. The system of pistons and rods is connected to the wheels and makes them rotate. Thus, a steam locomotive is a heat engine and without heat it could not move.
During the combustion of coal in a locomotive furnace, coal smoke is produced. It is thrown out through a pipe into the open air, settling on the body of a steam locomotive, tree leaves, buildings along the railway track, etc.d.
Negative impact on the environment
Thermal engines harm the environment due to their huge number, as well as due to the use of chemical fuels. The steam locomotive considered earlier could hardly pollute the environment if there was one. But the fleet of steam locomotives in the countries of the world was huge, and they made a significant contribution to the creation of smoky smog over major cities. And this despite the fact that smoke was the smallest coal dust.
Smoke from modern transport has a much more “interesting” composition. Diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and other oil derivatives are chemicals that are additionally modified during combustion, representing a serious danger to human health. They are extremely negatively affected by living nature. Moreover, constant emissions of hot exhaust gases and smoke from industrial enterprises enhance the greenhouse effect, threatening global warming.
Methods of combating the influence of heat machines
It is possible to reduce the negative impact on the environment from thermal mechanisms by finalizing them and more rational use. Currently, energy-saving technologies are being actively introduced around the world, which, in turn, lead to a reduction in emissions into the atmosphere, even in the production of electrical energy.
The second step is the development of new filtration systems, as well as the recycling of waste smoke or exhaust gases. Closed loop systems allow you to increase the amount of useful work while reducing the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere.