|Unit system||SI base unit|
|Named after||William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin|
The kelvin is the base unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI), having the unit symbol K. It is named after the Belfast-born, Glasgow University engineer and physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824–1907).
The SI base units are seven units of measure defined by the International System of Units as the basic set from which all other SI units can be derived. The units and their physical quantities are the second for time, the metre for measurement of length, the kilogram for mass, the ampere for electric current, the kelvin for temperature, the mole for amount of substance, and the candela for luminous intensity.
Temperature is a physical quantity expressing hot and cold. In physics, it is a defining property of thermodynamic systems that determines thermal equilibrium. It is measured with a thermometer calibrated in one or more temperature scales. The most commonly used scales are the Celsius scale, Fahrenheit scale, and Kelvin scale. The kelvin is the unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI). The Kelvin scale is widely used in science and technology.
The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system and is the most widely used system of measurement. It comprises a coherent system of units of measurement built on seven base units, which are the second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole, candela, and a set of twenty prefixes to the unit names and unit symbols that may be used when specifying multiples and fractions of the units. The system also specifies names for 22 derived units, such as lumen and watt, for other common physical quantities.
The kelvin is defined by fixing the numerical value of the Boltzmann constant k to 1.380 649×10−23 J⋅K−1. This unit is equal to kg⋅m2⋅s−2⋅K−1, where the kilogram, metre and second are defined in terms of the Planck constant, the speed of light, and the duration of the caesium-133 ground-state hyperfine transition. Thus, this definition depends only on universal constants, and not on any physical artifacts as practiced previously, such as the IPK, whose mass diverged over time from the original value.
The Boltzmann constant, named after its discoverer, Ludwig Boltzmann, is a physical constant that relates the average relative kinetic energy of particles in a gas with the temperature of the gas. It occurs in the definitions of the kelvin and the gas constant, and in Planck's law of black-body radiation and Boltzmann's entropy formula. The Boltzmann constant has the dimension energy divided by temperature, the same as entropy.
The kilogram is the base unit of mass in the metric system, formally the International System of Units (SI), having the unit symbol kg. It is a widely used measure in science, engineering, and commerce worldwide, and is often called a kilo. The kilogram is, within 30 ppm, the mass of one litre of water.
The metre or meter is the base unit of length in the International System of Units (SI). The SI unit symbol is m. The metre is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299 792 458 of a second.
One kelvin is equal to a change in the thermodynamic temperature T that results in a change of thermal energy kT by 1.380 649×10−23 J.
Thermodynamic temperature is the absolute measure of temperature and is one of the principal parameters of thermodynamics.
Thermal energy refers to several distinct thermodynamic quantities, such as the internal energy of a system; heat or sensible heat, which are defined as types of energy transfer ; or for the characteristic energy of a degree of freedom in a thermal system , where is temperature and is the Boltzmann constant.
The Kelvin scale fulfills Thomson's requirements as an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. It uses absolute zero as its null point.
An absolute scale is a system of measurement that begins at a minimum, or zero point, and progresses in only one direction. An absolute scale differs from an arbitrary, or "relative," scale, which begins at some point selected by a person and can progress in both directions. An absolute scale begins at a natural minimum, leaving only one direction in which to progress.
Scale of temperature is a way to measure temperature quantitatively. Empirical scales measure the quantity of heat in a system in relation to a fixed parameter, a thermometer. They are not absolute measures, that is why scales vary. Absolute temperature is thermodynamic temperature because it is directly related to thermodynamics. It is the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics that leads to a formal definition of thermodynamic temperature.
Absolute zero is the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature scale, a state at which the enthalpy and entropy of a cooled ideal gas reach their minimum value, taken as 0°. The fundamental particles of nature have minimum vibrational motion, retaining only quantum mechanical, zero-point energy-induced particle motion. The theoretical temperature is determined by extrapolating the ideal gas law; by international agreement, absolute zero is taken as −273.15° on the Celsius scale, which equals −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale. The corresponding Kelvin and Rankine temperature scales set their zero points at absolute zero by definition.
Unlike the degree Fahrenheit and degree Celsius, the kelvin is not referred to or written as a degree. The kelvin is the primary unit of temperature measurement in the physical sciences, but is often used in conjunction with the degree Celsius, which has the same magnitude.
The Fahrenheit scale is a temperature scale based on one proposed in 1724 by German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736). It uses the degree Fahrenheit as the unit. Several accounts of how he originally defined his scale exist. The lower defining point, 0 ℉, was established as the freezing temperature of a solution of brine made from equal parts of ice, water and a salt. Further limits were established as the melting point of ice (32 ℉) and his best estimate of the average human body temperature. The scale is now usually defined by two fixed points: the temperature at which water freezes into ice is defined as 32 ℉, and the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 ℉, a 180 ℉ separation, as defined at sea level and standard atmospheric pressure.
The Celsius scale, also known as the centigrade scale, is a temperature scale used by the International System of Units (SI). As an SI derived unit, it is used worldwide. In the United States, the Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands and Liberia however, Fahrenheit remains the preferred scale for everyday temperature measurement. The degree Celsius can refer to a specific temperature on the Celsius scale or a unit to indicate a difference between two temperatures or an uncertainty. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701–1744), who developed a similar temperature scale. Before being renamed to honor Anders Celsius in 1948, the unit was called centigrade, from the Latin centum, which means 100, and gradus, which means steps.
The term degree is used in several scales of temperature. The symbol ° is usually used, followed by the initial letter of the unit, for example “°C” for degree(s) Celsius. A degree can be defined as a set change in temperature measured against a given scale, for example, one degree Celsius is one hundredth of the temperature change between the point at which water starts to change state from solid to liquid state and the point at which it starts to change from its gaseous state to liquid.
In 1848, William Thomson, who later was made Lord Kelvin, wrote in his paper, On an Absolute Thermometric Scale, of the need for a scale whereby "infinite cold" (absolute zero) was the scale's null point, and which used the degree Celsius for its unit increment. Kelvin calculated that absolute zero was equivalent to −273 °C on the air thermometers of the time. This absolute scale is known today as the Kelvin thermodynamic temperature scale. Kelvin's value of "−273" was the negative reciprocal of 0.00366—the accepted expansion coefficient of gas per degree Celsius relative to the ice point, giving a remarkable consistency to the currently accepted value.
In 1954, Resolution 3 of the 10th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) gave the Kelvin scale its modern definition by designating the triple point of water as its second defining point and assigned its temperature to exactly 273.16 kelvins.
In 1967/1968, Resolution 3 of the 13th CGPM renamed the unit increment of thermodynamic temperature "kelvin", symbol K, replacing "degree Kelvin", symbol °K. 1/ of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water."Furthermore, feeling it useful to more explicitly define the magnitude of the unit increment, the 13th CGPM also held in Resolution 4 that "The kelvin, unit of thermodynamic temperature, is equal to the fraction
In 2005, the Comité International des Poids et Mesures (CIPM), a committee of the CGPM, affirmed that for the purposes of delineating the temperature of the triple point of water, the definition of the Kelvin thermodynamic temperature scale would refer to water having an isotopic composition specified as Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water.
On 16 November 2018, a new definition was adopted, in terms of a fixed value of the Boltzmann constant. With this change the triple point of water became an empirically determined value of approximately 273.16 kelvin. For legal metrology purposes, the new definition officially came into force on 20 May 2019, the 144th anniversary of the Metre Convention.
According to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, when spelled out or spoken, the unit is pluralised using the same grammatical rules as for other SI units such as the volt or ohm (e.g. "the triple point of water is not exactly 273.16 kelvins" 3′ 4″, are the exception) there is a space between the numeric value and the kelvin symbol (e.g. "99.987 K"). (The style guide for CERN, however, specifically says to always use "kelvin", even when plural.)). When reference is made to the "Kelvin scale", the word "kelvin"—which is normally a noun—functions adjectivally to modify the noun "scale" and is capitalized. As with most other SI unit symbols (angle symbols, e.g. 45°
Before the 13th CGPM in 1967–1968, the unit kelvin was called a "degree", the same as with the other temperature scales at the time. It was distinguished from the other scales with either the adjective suffix "Kelvin" ("degree Kelvin") or with "absolute" ("degree absolute") and its symbol was °K. The latter term (degree absolute), which was the unit's official name from 1948 until 1954, was ambiguous since it could also be interpreted as referring to the Rankine scale. Before the 13th CGPM, the plural form was "degrees absolute". The 13th CGPM changed the unit name to simply "kelvin" (symbol: K).The omission of "degree" indicates that it is not relative to an arbitrary reference point like the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales (although the Rankine scale continued to use "degree Rankine"), but rather an absolute unit of measure which can be manipulated algebraically (e.g. multiplied by two to indicate twice the amount of "mean energy" available among elementary degrees of freedom of the system).
In science and engineering, degrees Celsius and kelvins are often used simultaneously in the same article, where absolute temperatures are given in degrees Celsius, but temperature intervals are given in kelvins. E.g. "its measured value was 0.01028 °C with an uncertainty of 60 µK".[ citation needed ]
This practice is permissible because the degree Celsius is a special name for the kelvin for use in expressing relative temperatures, and the magnitude of the degree Celsius is exactly equal to that of the kelvin. [ citation needed ]Notwithstanding that the official endorsement provided by Resolution 3 of the 13th CGPM states "a temperature interval may also be expressed in degrees Celsius", the practice of simultaneously using both °C and K is widespread throughout the scientific world. The use of SI prefixed forms of the degree Celsius (such as "µ°C" or "microdegree Celsius") to express a temperature interval has not been widely adopted.
In 2005 the CIPM embarked on a programme to redefine the kelvin (along with the other SI units) using a more experimentally rigorous methodology. In particular, the committee proposed redefining the kelvin such that Boltzmann's constant takes the exact value 1.3806505×10−23 J/K. The committee had hoped that the programme would be completed in time for its adoption by the CGPM at its 2011 meeting, but at the 2011 meeting the decision was postponed to the 2014 meeting when it would be considered as part of a larger programme.
The redefinition was further postponed in 2014, pending more accurate measurements of Boltzmann's constant in terms of the current definition, k = 1.380649×10−23 J/K.but was finally adopted at the 26th CGPM in late 2018, with a value of
From a scientific point of view, the main advantage is that this will allow measurements at very low and very high temperatures to be made more accurately, as the techniques used depend on the Boltzmann constant. It also has the philosophical advantage of being independent of any particular substance. The challenge was to avoid degrading the accuracy of measurements close to the triple point. From a practical point of view, the redefinition will pass unnoticed; water will still freeze at 273.15 K (0 °C),and the triple point of water will continue to be a commonly used laboratory reference temperature.
The difference is that, before the redefinition, the triple point of water was exact and the Boltzmann constant had a measured value of 1.38064903(51)×10−23 J/K, with a relative standard uncertainty of 3.7×10−7. Afterward, the Boltzmann constant is exact and the uncertainty is transferred to the triple point of water, which is now 273.1600(1) K.
|from kelvins||to kelvins|
|Celsius||[°C] = [K] − 273.15||[K] = [°C] + 273.15|
|Fahrenheit||[°F] = [K] × 9⁄5 − 459.67||[K] = ([°F] + 459.67) × 5⁄9|
|Rankine||[°R] = [K] × 9⁄5||[K] = [°R] × 5⁄9|
|For temperature intervals rather than specific temperatures,|
1 K = 1 °C = 9⁄5 °F = 9⁄5 °R
Comparisons among various temperature scales
The kelvin is often used as a measure of the colour temperature of light sources. Colour temperature is based upon the principle that a black body radiator emits light with a frequency distribution characteristic of its temperature. Black bodies at temperatures below about 4000 K appear reddish, whereas those above about 7500 K appear bluish. Colour temperature is important in the fields of image projection and photography, where a colour temperature of approximately 5600 K is required to match "daylight" film emulsions. In astronomy, the stellar classification of stars and their place on the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram are based, in part, upon their surface temperature, known as effective temperature. The photosphere of the Sun, for instance, has an effective temperature of 5778 K.
Digital cameras and photographic software often use colour temperature in K in edit and setup menus. The simple guide is that higher colour temperature produces an image with enhanced white and blue hues. The reduction in colour temperature produces an image more dominated by reddish, "warmer" colours.
In electronics, the kelvin is used as an indicator of how noisy a circuit is in relation to an ultimate noise floor, i.e. the noise temperature. The so-called Johnson–Nyquist noise of discrete resistors and capacitors is a type of thermal noise derived from the Boltzmann constant and can be used to determine the noise temperature of a circuit using the Friis formulas for noise.
The symbol is encoded in Unicode at code point U+212AKKELVIN SIGN. However, this is a compatibility character provided for compatibility with legacy encodings. The Unicode standard recommends using U+004BKLATIN CAPITAL LETTER K instead; that is, a normal capital K. "Three letterlike symbols have been given canonical equivalence to regular letters: U+2126ΩOHM SIGN, U+212AKKELVIN SIGN, and U+212BÅANGSTROM SIGN. In all three instances, the regular letter should be used."
The Metre Convention, also known as the Treaty of the Metre, is an international treaty that was signed in Paris on 20 May 1875 by representatives of 17 nations. The treaty created the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), an intergovernmental organization under the authority of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) and the supervision of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM), that coordinates international metrology and the development of the metric system.
The Rankine scale is an absolute scale of thermodynamic temperature named after the Glasgow University engineer and physicist William John Macquorn Rankine, who proposed it in 1859. It may be used in engineering systems where heat computations are done using degrees Fahrenheit.
The Avogadro number, sometimes denoted N or N0, is the number of constituent particles (usually molecules, atoms or ions) that are contained in one mole, the international (SI) unit of amount of substance: by definition, exactly 6.02214076×1023, and it is dimensionless. It is named after the scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856).
The gas constant is also known as the molar, universal, or ideal gas constant, denoted by the symbol R or R and is equivalent to the Boltzmann constant, but expressed in units of energy per temperature increment per mole, i.e. the pressure–volume product, rather than energy per temperature increment per particle. The constant is also a combination of the constants from Boyle's law, Charles's law, Avogadro's law, and Gay-Lussac's law. It is a physical constant that is featured in many fundamental equations in the physical sciences, such as the ideal gas law and the Nernst equation.
Metrology is the science of measurement. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial in linking human activities. Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution's political motivation to standardise units in France, when a length standard taken from a natural source was proposed. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing a set of standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure conformity between the countries, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. This has evolved into the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) in 1960.
Zetta is a decimal unit prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of 1021 or 1000000000000000000000. The prefix was added as an SI prefix to the International System of Units (SI) in 1991 and has the symbol Z.
The International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90) published by the Consultative Committee for Thermometry (CCT) of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) is an equipment calibration standard for making measurements on the Kelvin and Celsius temperature scales. ITS-90 is an approximation of the thermodynamic temperature scale that facilitates the comparability and compatibility of temperature measurements internationally. It specifies fourteen calibration points ranging from 0.65±0 K to 1357.77±0 K and is subdivided into multiple temperature ranges which overlap in some instances. ITS-90 is the latest of a series of International Temperature Scales adopted by CIPM since 1927. Adopted at the 1989 General Conference on Weights and Measures, it supersedes the International Practical Temperature Scale of 1968 and the 1976 "Provisional 0.5 K to 30 K Temperature Scale". CCT has also adopted a mise en pratique in 2011. The lowest temperature covered by ITS-90 is 0.65 K. In 2000, the temperature scale was extended further, to 0.9 mK, by the adoption of a supplemental scale, known as the Provisional Low Temperature Scale of 2000 (PLTS-2000).
ISO 31-0 is the introductory part of international standard ISO 31 on quantities and units. It provides guidelines for using physical quantities, quantity and unit symbols, and coherent unit systems, especially the SI. It is intended for use in all fields of science and technology and is augmented by more specialized conventions defined in other parts of the ISO 31 standard. ISO 31-0 was withdrawn on 17 November 2009. It is superseded by ISO 80000-1. Other parts of ISO 31 have also been withdrawn and replaced by parts of ISO 80000.
In 2019, the SI base units were redefined, effective on 144th anniversary of the Metre Convention, 20 May 2019. In the redefinition, four of the seven SI base units – the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole – were redefined by setting exact numerical values for the Planck constant, the elementary electric charge, the Boltzmann constant, and the Avogadro constant, respectively. The second, metre, and candela were already defined by physical constants and were subject to correction to their definitions. The new definitions aimed to improve the SI without changing the value of any units, ensuring continuity with existing measurements. In November 2018, the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) unanimously approved these changes, which the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) had proposed earlier that year after determining that previously agreed conditions for the change had been met. These conditions were satisfied by a series of experiments that measured the constants to high accuracy relative to the old SI definitions, and were the culmination of decades of research.
The history of the metric system began in the Age of Enlightenment with notions of length and weight taken from natural ones, and decimal multiples and fractions of them. The system became the standard of France and Europe in half a century. Other dimensions with unity ratios were added, and it went on to be adopted by the world.
The metric system was developed during the French Revolution to replace the various measures previously used in France. The metre is the unit of length in the metric system and was originally based on the dimensions of the earth, as far as it could be measured at the time. The litre, is the unit of volume and was defined as one thousandth of a cubic metre. The metric unit of mass is the kilogram and it was defined as the mass of one litre of water. The metric system was, in the words of French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet, "for all people for all time".
[BIPM director Martin] Milton responded to a question about what would happen if ... the CIPM or the CGPM voted not to move forward with the redefinition of the SI. He responded that he felt that by that time the decision to move forward should be seen as a foregone conclusion.
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