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Temperature Scales

One of the fundamental quantities in science is temperature, which is a measure of the average amount of energy of motion, or kinetic energy, a system contains. Temperatures are expressed using scales that use units called degrees. There are three scales used for reporting temperatures. Figure (PageIndex1) compares the three temperature scales.

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For most purposes, it is acceptable to use 273 instead of 273.15 in Equation efC2K.

Note that the Kelvin scale does not use the word degrees; a temperature of 295 K is spoken of as “two hundred ninety-five kelvin” and not “two hundred ninety-five degrees Kelvin.”

Example (PageIndex2): Room Temperature

If the normal room temperature is 72.0°F, what is room temperature in degrees Celsius and kelvin?


First, we use Equation efF2C to determine the temperature in degrees Celsius:

<eginalign* ^circC &= (72.0-32) imes dfrac59 \<5pt> &= 40.0 imes dfrac59 \<5pt> &= 22.2^circC endalign*>

Then we use Equation efC2K to determine the temperature in the Kelvin scale: