kelvin

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Kelvin temperature scale, a temperature scale having an absolute zero below which temperatures do not exist. Absolute zero, or 0°K, is the temperature at which molecular energy is a minimum, and it corresponds to a temperature of -273.15° on the Celsius temperature scale. The Kelvin degree is the same size as the Celsius degree; hence the two reference temperatures for Celsius, the freezing point of water (0°C), and the boiling point of water (100°C), correspond to 273.15°K and 373.15°K, respectively. When writing temperatures in the Kelvin scale, it is the convention to omit the degree symbol and merely use the letter K. The temperature scale is named after the British mathematician and physicist William Thomson Kelvin, who proposed it in 1848. Another absolute temperature scale, the Rankine temperature scale, is used by some engineers. See also Fahrenheit temperature scale.

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Kelvin scale A scale of temperature proposed by Kelvin ( William Thomson), which does not include negative values. The unit of the scale is the kelvin (K). The base of the scale, absolute zero, is the lowest possible temperature for all substances at which no molecule possesses any heat energy. The triple point of water is given as 273.16 K.

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kelvin Symbol K. The SI unit of thermodynamic temperature equal to the fraction 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water. The magnitude of the kelvin is equal to that of the degree Celsius (centigrade), but a temperature expressed in degrees Celsius is numerically equal to the temperature in kelvins less 273.15 (i.e. °C = K – 273.15). The unit is named after Lord Kelvin (1824–1907).

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kel·vin / ˈkelvən/ (abbr.: K) • n. the SI base unit of thermodynamic temperature, equal in magnitude to the degree Celsius.

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Kel·vin scale • n. a scale of temperature with absolute zero as zero, and the triple point of water as exactly 273.16 degrees.

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kelvin, abbr. K, official name in the International System of Units (SI) for the degree of temperature as measured on the Kelvin temperature scale.

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kelvin See KELVIN SCALE.