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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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Note that science uses the Celsius and Kelvin scales almost exclusively; virtually no practicing jajalger2018.orgist expresses laboratory-measured temperatures with the Fahrenheit scale. (In fact, the United States is one of the few countries in the world that still uses the Fahrenheit scale on a daily basis. People driving near the borders of Canada or Mexico may pick up local radio stations on the other side of the border that express the daily weather in degrees Celsius, so do not get confused by their weather reports.)

Example (PageIndex1): Conversions

What is 98.6°F in degrees Celsius? What is 25.0°C in degrees Fahrenheit?

Solution

Using Equation efF2C, we have

<eginalign* ^circC &= (98.6-32) imes dfrac59 \<5pt> &=66.6 imes dfrac59 \<5pt> &= 37.0^circC endalign*>

Using Equation efC2F, we have

<eginalign* ^circF &= (25.0 imes dfrac95)+32 \<5pt> &= 45.0+32 \<5pt> &=77.0^circF endalign*>

For more examples of how to perform these types of problems, click on this video to see your professor in action.

Exercise (PageIndex1)

Convert 0°F to degrees Celsius. Convert 212°C to degrees Fahrenheit. Answer a

−17.8°C

414°F

The fundamental unit of temperature in SI is the Kelvin (K). The Kelvin temperature scale (note that the name of the scale capitalizes the word Kelvin, but the unit itself is lowercase) uses degrees that are the same size as the Celsius degree, but the numerical scale is shifted up by 273.15 units. That is, the conversion between the Kelvin and Celsius scales is as follows:

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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?

Solution

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: