The Accuracy of Kelvin

  • #1
Why is the Kelvin scale more accurate than the Celsius scale when a change of 1K is equal to a change of 1°C? It's something I've always wondered about but never looked into.

(Apologies if the answer is incredibly simple. I'm still very new to the world of physics :smile:)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
30,321
6,789
Accuracy and precision are properties of the measuring device, not the measurement scale. You could have an accurate thermometer marked in Celcius and an inaccurate thermometer marked in Kelvin.

The advantage of Kelvin over Celsius is that the zero point in Kelvin is absolute zero while the zero point in Celsius is just the freeing point of water. When doing thermodynamics the formulas become simpler when 0 is set to absolute zero.
 
  • #3
Ah, that makes sense. I definitely see why Kelvin is advantageous.
Thanks a lot!
 
  • #4
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,847
4,669
Why is the Kelvin scale more accurate than the Celsius scale when a change of 1K is equal to a change of 1°C? It's something I've always wondered about but never looked into.
Where did you get the idea that the Kelvin scale is more accurate than the Celsius scale?

We tend to use the Kelvin scale in many situations in physics not because it is more accurate. But rather, that is considered, in thermodynamics, as the "absolute" scale. It has nothing to do with accuracy, as DaleSpam stated.

Zz.
 
  • #5
Where did you get the idea that the Kelvin scale is more accurate than the Celsius scale?
My physics teacher told the class it was more accurate, which I knew didn't make sense since 1K and 1°C are equal in size.
Thanks for clearing things up for me. That saved me from a lot more confusion!
 
  • #6
anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Insights Author
8,867
5,766
My physics teacher told the class it was more accurate, which I knew didn't make sense since 1K and 1°C are equal in size.
Thanks for clearing things up for me. That saved me from a lot more confusion!
Either you heard wrong, or that teacher has a very poor understanding of physics.
 
  • #7
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
Gold Member
25,186
4,814
The K scale makes much more sense, in any case, as it starts at Zero. Any Physics lab on another planet could easily choose the same starting point. Of course, the step size would still be a bit arbitrary. Some (just one) other defined temperature would need to be chosen and they we could converse with them about Thermodynamics with no trouble.
The fact that we could never actually get to 0K, is a mere detail. . . . .
 

Related Threads on The Accuracy of Kelvin

  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
6K
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
784
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
633
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
868
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
933
Replies
6
Views
700
Top