Rankine, William John Macquorn

Rankine, William John Macquorn

(răng`kĭn), 1820–72, Scottish engineer and physicist. Serving as a professor of engineering at the Univ. of Glasgow from 1855, he made valuable contributions to civil and mechanical engineering as well as to thermodynamics. His manuals of applied mechanics and of civil engineering and one on the steam engine and other such engines went into many editions.

Rankine, William John Macquorn


Born July 5, 1820, in Edinburgh; died Dec. 24, in Glasgow. Scottish engineer and physicist.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Rankine worked on the construction of ports and railroads. In 1855 he became a professor at the University of Glasgow. One of the founders of the science of thermodynamics, he wrote a monograph, which appeared in the 1850’s, dealing with the technical application of the thermodynamic properties of steam. Rankine and R. J. E. Clausius worked out the theoretical cycle of the steam engine. In 1854, Rankine laid the basis for the theory of the regenerative process, which came to be used in engines requiring heated air. Rankine proposed a method for designing steam engines with multiple expansion and for determining the indicated efficiency of engines. A number of Rankine’s works are devoted to the theory of elasticity and waves.


A Manual of the Steam Engine and Other Prime Movers, 15th ed. London, 1902.
A Manual of Civil Engineering, 22nd ed. London, 1904.
Shipbuilding, Theoretical and Practical. London, 1866. (With others.)
A Manual of Machinery and Millwork. London, 1869.
Miscellaneous Scientific Papers. London, 1881.
In Russian translation:
Rukovodstvo dlia inzhenerov-stroitelei. St. Petersburg, 1870.


Radtsig, A. A. Istoriia teplotekhniki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Rosenberger, F. Istoriiafiziki, part 3, fase. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)