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Kelvin Scale
The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature; the null point of the Kelvin scale is absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature.
Learning Objectives

Explain how the Kelvin scale is defined

Perform temperature conversions between the Kelvin and the Celsius scales
Key Points

0K (absolute zero) is universal because all thermal motions of all matter are maximally suppressed at this temperature. Absolute zero is therefore the natural choice as the null point of the Kelvin scale.

The Kelvin scale is used extensively in scientific work because a number of physical quantities, such as the volume of an ideal gas, are directly related to absolute temperature.

To convert kelvin to degree Celsius, we use the following formula:
$T_{Celsius} = T_{Kelvin} 273.15$ .
Terms

absolute zero
The coldest possible temperature: zero on the Kelvin scale and approximately 273.15°C and 459.67°F. The total absence of heat; the temperature at which motion of all molecules would cease.

ideal gas
A hypothetical gas whose molecules exhibit no interaction and undergo elastic collision with each other and with the walls of the container.

Triple point
The unique temperature and pressure at which the solid, liquid and gas phases of a substance are all in equilibrium.
Full Text
The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature. It is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units (SI) and is assigned the unit symbol K. The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using absolute zero as its null point. In the classical description of thermodynamics, absolute zero is the temperature at which all thermal motion ceases.
The choice of absolute zero as null point for the Kelvin scale is logical. Different types of matter boil or freeze at different temperatures, but at 0K (absolute zero), all thermal motions of any matter are maximally suppressed. The Kelvin scale is used extensively in scientific work because a number of physical quantities, such as the volume of an ideal gas, are directly related to absolute temperature.
The Kelvin scale is named after Glasgow University engineer and physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (18241907), who wrote of the need for an "absolute thermometric scale. " Unlike the degree Fahrenheit and the degree Celsius, the kelvin is not referred to or typeset as a degree. The kelvin is the primary unit of measurement in the physical sciences, but it is often used in conjunction with the degree Celsius, which has the same magnitude. The kelvin is defined as the fraction 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water (exactly 0.01°C, or 32.018°F). To convert kelvin to degrees Celsius, we use the following formula:
Subtracting 273.16K from the temperature of the triple point of water, 0.01°C, makes absolute zero (0K) equivalent to 273.15°C and 460°F .
Key Term Reference
 base
 Appears in this related concepts: Integer Exponents, Logarithms of Powers, and Balancing Redox Equations
 kelvin
 Appears in this related concepts: Celsius Scale, Temperature, and Speed of Sound
 magnitude
 Appears in this related concepts: Roundoff Error, Multiplying Vectors by a Scalar, and Components of a Vector
 matter
 Appears in this related concepts: Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter, Introduction: Physics and Matter, and The Study of Chemistry
 motion
 Appears in this related concepts: Motion Diagrams, TwoComponent Forces, and Moving Source
 thermodynamic
 Appears in this related concepts: Adiabatic Processes, Isothermal Processes, and Phase Changes and Energy Conservation
 thermodynamic temperature
 Appears in this related concepts: Absolute Zero, A Review of the Zeroth Law, and Absolute Temperature
 thermodynamics
 Appears in this related concepts: The Effect of a Catalyst, Solutions and Heats of Hydration, and Work
 work
 Appears in this related concepts: Conservation of Energy in Rotational Motion, Free Energy and Work, and Energy Transportation
Sources
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Cite This Source
Source: Boundless. “Kelvin Scale.” Boundless Physics. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 21 May. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/physics/textbooks/boundlessphysicstextbook/temperatureandkinetictheory12/temperatureandtemperaturescales102/kelvinscale369736/