Crossley, F. R. E. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The ratio, expressed as a percentage, of the output to the input of power (energy or work per unit time). As is common in engineering, this concept is defined precisely and made measurable. Thus, a gear transmission is 97% efficient when the useful energy output is 97% of the input, the other 3% being lost as heat due to friction. A boiler is 75% efficient when its product (steam) contains 75% of the heat theoretically contained in the fuel consumed. All automobile engines have low efficiency (below 30%) because of the total energy content of fuel converted to heat; only a portion provides motive power, while a substantial amount is lost in radiator and car exhaust. See also: Automotive engine; Boiler; Power
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