1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The kelvin scale - how could it have been defined?

  1. Aug 17, 2011 #1

    I know that the kelvin scale uses the absolute zero as its null point. If so, I wonder why the scale needs to be defined using the triple point of water. I mean, the absolute zero serves the purpose of defining the kelvin scale already, doesn't it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2011 #2


    User Avatar

    You must have two points to define linear scale, not just one.
    Celsius used freezing and boiling points of water. Kelvin found one, being fundamental, but still needs the second.
  4. Aug 17, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I was under the impression that the size of a degree Kelvin was defined to be the same as a degree Celcius. If that is true then you would only need a single "base" temperature.
  5. Aug 17, 2011 #4


    User Avatar

    Those two approaches are equivalent, with respect to accuracy.

    We may obtain better accuracy using just one point (tripple point of water) than using inherited after Celsius distance between two points (melting and boiling of water at the 1bar pressure), which depend in turn on accuracy of our definition of pressure unit.
  6. Aug 17, 2011 #5
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook