What Are the Three Scales Used to Measure Temperature?

February 15, 2024

The three most common scales used to measure temperature are Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin. Each has a different set of reference points for freezing and boiling. The differences between the scales are not huge, but it is important to know which one you’re using when communicating with others.

The temperature scale most commonly used in the United States is the Fahrenheit scale, developed by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714. It is based on the freezing and boiling temperatures of water, and it divides the difference between those two by 180, so one degree is the distance between the boiling point and the freezing point in tenths of a degree.

Another common scale is the Celsius scale, which was developed by Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius in 1741. His scale uses two fixed points, 0 and 100 (water’s freezing and boiling points), and is a part of the metric system, so it’s used throughout the world. It is often abbreviated as °C or degC.

The third common temperature scale is the Kelvin scale, which is a scientific scale that starts at absolute zero, defined as the point at which all molecular energy has stopped moving. It is also part of the metric system and is used by scientists worldwide. It is often abbreviated as K, and it is the most commonly used temperature scale in scientific work.


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