William John Macquorn Rankine

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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.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The inclusion of the works of other, non-British scientists of this era--such as Alexander Von Humboldt, Heinrich Wilhelm Brandes, Joseph Fourier, William Rankine, Matthew Maury, and Urbain Le Verrier, among many others--would have very nicely filled out the picture of the early years of modern meteorology.
Beith snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner when Reid slid the ball under Dalry keeper William Rankine.
Internal combustion engines working with liquid petroleum fuels would take over, and the thermodynamic cycle noted by Stirling's Scottish contemporary, William Rankine, would gain acceptance for refrigeration because of the advent of chlorofluorocarbons like Freon and hydrofluorocarbons.