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Degrees Fahrenheit: Definition & Conversion

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  • 0:01 Farenheit Defined
  • 0:52 Conversion of Farenheit
  • 2:56 Conversion Examples
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Thomas Zesiger

Thomas has taught electronics and communications engineering, math, and physics and has a master's degree in electrical engineering.

In this lesson, we will define the degree and the Fahrenheit temperature scale. We will also compare the Fahrenheit scale to the other temperature scales and learn how to convert between them.

Fahrenheit Defined

In order to properly define degrees Fahrenheit, we must break it apart and define the words degree and Fahrenheit separately. A degree is the unit of measure of temperature. Fahrenheit is a temperature scale commonly used in the United States. In the Fahrenheit scale, 32 degrees is the melting/freezing point of water, and 212 degrees is the boiling/condensation point. These points are measured at one atmosphere of pressure and at an elevation of sea level. The melting/freezing and boiling/condensation points of water, or of any substance, change depending on the pressure and elevation.

Conversion of Fahrenheit

There are three temperature scales in practical use: Fahrenheit (F), Celsius (C) and Kelvin (K). The Fahrenheit scale is generally used in the United States and is associated with the English system of units. The Celsius scale (formerly called centigrade) is generally used in Europe and is associated with metric units. The Kelvin scale uses the same increments as the Celsius scale, but it shifts the scale so that the lowest possible temperature is at zero. The Kelvin scale does not use degrees - its unit is just called the Kelvin. The lowest possible temperature is called absolute zero. This occurs at 0 on the Kelvin scale, -273.15 degrees C and -459.67 degrees F.

Comparison of Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin temperature scales.

As shown, there is a ratio of 180/100, or 9/5, between the Fahrenheit and Celsius/Kelvin scales. From this, we can develop the conversions between temperature scales. The equations of conversion are shown here:

  • To convert from degrees C to degrees F: F = ((9 / 5) * C) + 32
  • To convert from degrees F to degrees C: C = (5 / 9) * (F - 32)
  • To convert from K to degrees F: F = ((K - 273) * (9 / 5)) + 32
  • To convert from degrees F to K: K = ((5 / 9) * (F - 32)) + 273

Conversion Examples

Let's solve a few conversion problems to see if we can get the hang of it. Convert 44 degrees C to F.

  • F = ((9 / 5) * 44) + 32 = (1.8 * 44) + 32 = 79.2 + 32 = 111.2 degrees F

That wasn't too hard! How about another one? Convert 212 degrees F to C:

  • C = (5 / 9) * (212 - 32) = (0.5556) * (180) = 100 degrees C

Good! Let's try another. Convert 32 K to degrees F.

  • F = ((32 - 273) * (9 / 5)) + 32 = ((-241) * (1.8)) + 32 = -433.8 + 32 = -401.8 degrees F

How about one more? Convert 105 degrees F to K.

  • K = ((5 / 9) * (105 - 32)) + 273 = ((0.5556) * (73)) + 273 = 40.6 + 273 = 313.6 K

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