Comparisons among Kelvin Celsius and Fahrenheit

One kelvin represents the same temperature difference as 1°C, and the temperature in kelvins is always equal to 273.15 plus the temperature in degrees Celsius. The Celsius scale was designed around the behavior of water. The freezing point of water (at one atmosphere of pressure) was originally defined to be 0°C, while the boiling point is 100°C.The kelvin equals exactly 1.8°F.

To convert temperatures in the Fahrenheit scale to the Celsius scale, use the following equation, where F is degrees Fahrenheit, and C is degrees Celsius:

And to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, use this equation:

To convert temperatures in the Celsius scale to the Kelvin scale, add 273.16. By convention, the degree symbol (°) is used for Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures but not for temperatures given in Kelvin, for example, 0°C equals 273K.

What exactly is temperature? Qualitatively, it is a measurement of how hot something feels, and this definition is so easy to relate to that people seldom take it further. What is really happening in a substance as it gets hot or cold, and how does that change make temperature? When a fixed amount of energy is put into a substance, it heats up by an amount depending on what it is. The temperature of an object, then, has something to do with how the material responds to energy, and that response is called entropy. The entropy of a material (entropy is usually denoted S) is a measure of atomic wiggling and disorder of the atoms in the material. Formally, temperature is defined as meaning one over temperature (the reciprocal of temperature) is defined as the change in entropy (dS, in differential notation) per change in energy (dU), for a given number of atoms (N). What this means in less technical terms is that temperature is a measure of how much heat it takes to increase the entropy (atomic wiggling and disorder) of a substance. Some materials get hotter with less energy, and others require more to reach the same temperature.

The theoretical lower limit of temperature is —459.67°F (—273.15°C, or 0K), known also as absolute zero.This is the temperature at which all atomic movement stops. The Prussian physicist Walther Nernst showed that it is impossible to actually reach absolute zero, though with laboratory methods using nuclear magnetization it is possible to reach 10-6K (0.000001K).

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