Temperature, Absolute thermodynamic scale

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A temperature is a numerical measure of hot and cold. Its measurement is by detection of heat radiation, particle velocity, kinetic energy, or most commonly, by the bulk behavior of a thermometric material. It may be calibrated in any of various temperature scales, Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, etc.


The Kelvin scale is called absolute for two reasons. One is Kelvin's, that its formal character is independent of the properties of particular materials. The other reason is that its zero is in a sense absolute, in that it indicates absence of microscopic classical motion of the constituent particles of matter, so that they have a limiting specific heat of zero for zero temperature, according to the third law of thermodynamics. Nevertheless, a Kelvin temperature has a definite numerical value, that has been arbitrarily chosen by tradition. This numerical value also depends on the properties of water, which has a gas–liquid–solid triple point that can be reliably reproduced as a standard experimental phenomenon. The choice of this triple point is also arbitrary and by convention. The Kelvin scale is also called the thermodynamic scale.

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External Links

  • WikipediaAn elementary introduction to temperature aimed at a middle school audiencefrom Oklahoma State UniversityAverage yearly temperature by country

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