Temperature Units: Converting Between Kelvins and Celsius

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures: Calculating Partial & Total Pressures

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 Introduction: Temperature
  • 2:02 Celsius Scale
  • 2:48 The Kelvin Scale
  • 3:35 Converting
  • 3:58 Sample Problem
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kristin Born

Kristin has an M.S. in Chemistry and has taught many at many levels, including introductory and AP Chemistry.

Have you ever wondered what the lowest possible temperature is? In this lesson, you will learn what temperature measures. You will also be introduced to the Kelvin scale (an absolute scale) and learn how it relates to the Celsius scale.

Introduction: Temperature

Johnny Dalton and his family are vacationing on Ideal Island, where all gas particles behave ideally. They move randomly and rapidly, and they don't interact with each other. They have elastic collisions, and they are point particles, meaning the individual particles don't have any volume.

Just like when you travel to a foreign country and have to use a different currency or different units to measure things, Johnny must use different units on Ideal Island. Today, we are going to discuss temperature and the temperature units that are used here on the island.

The particles in thermometer liquid spread out when exposed to heat.
Thermometer Particles

When you have a fever and you take your temperature, did you know that you are really just measuring how fast the particles in your body are traveling? You can think of a thermometer like a little particle speedometer: the faster the particles are moving, the greater the temperature. Temperature is defined as the measurement of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance. The hotter something is, the faster its particles are moving.

A normal bulb thermometer usually contains a red liquid in a reservoir at the bottom. When this bulb is touching something warm, the fast particles in the warm substance hit the particles in the glass (or whatever your thermometer is made out of), and that causes them to speed up - and then they hit the particles in the red liquid, causing them to speed up. When the particles in the red liquid speed up, they space themselves apart more, causing the liquid to expand. This liquid needs a place to go, and in a thermometer, there is no place to go but up!

The Celsius Scale

You may measure your temperature using the Fahrenheit scale, but the rest of the world uses the Celsius scale. If you know a temperature in Fahrenheit, you can convert it to Celsius using this equation: °C = (5/9)(F - 32) This equation is rarely used in chemistry because chemists use the Celsius scale for measuring temperature.

The Celsius scale was created using the freezing and boiling temperatures of water at sea level as a standard. 0 °Celsius (or 32 °Fahrenheit) is the freezing point of water, and 100 °Celsius (or 212 °Fahrenheit) is the boiling point of water at sea level. There are 100 divisions (or degrees) in between these two points, and each division represents a degree Celsius. Now, because you may not use the Celsius scale on a daily basis, you can use the following poem to remember the relative temperatures and their corresponding degrees: 30 is hot, 20 is nice, 10 is cold, and zero is ice.

This equation can be used to convert Fahrenheit measurements to Celsius.
Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius Equation

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account