On the energetics of a nonlinear system rectifying thermal fluctuations
Theoretische Polymerphysik, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder Str. 3, D-79104 Freiburg i.Br., Germany
Accepted: 11 September 1998
We discuss an approach to the energetics of nonlinear systems based on the local, detailed-balanced scheme and consider a simple model consisting of a linear and a nonlinear resistor (diode) in contact with two heat baths kept at different temperatures. We calculate the power, the absorbed heat and the efficiency of a system as a heat engine. We show that this efficiency is always smaller than the Carnot value, thus indicating the intrinsically irreversible mode of operation.
PACS: 05.40.+j – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, and Brownian motion / 05.70.Ln – Nonequilibrium thermodynamics, irreversible processes
© EDP Sciences, 1998