Celsius to Kelvin Temperature Conversion Example

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Celsius to Kelvin Temperature Conversion Example." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/celsius-to-kelvin-conversion-example-609547. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, February 8). Celsius to Kelvin Temperature Conversion Example. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/celsius-to-kelvin-conversion-example-609547 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Celsius to Kelvin Temperature Conversion Example." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/celsius-to-kelvin-conversion-example-609547 (accessed October 20, 2017).
Add 273 to a Celsius temperature to get Kelvin.
Add 273 to a Celsius temperature to get Kelvin. Steven Taylor, Getty Images

Here is an example problem that explains how to convert a temperature from degrees on the Celsius scale to Kelvin. It's a useful conversion to know because many formulas use Kelvin temperatures, but most thermometers report in Celsius.

Celsius to Kelvin Formula

To convert between the temperature scales, you need to know the formula. Celsius and Kelvin are based on the same size degree, just with different "zero" points, so this equation is simple:

The formula to convert Celsius to Kelvin is:

K = °C + 273

or, if you want more significant figures:

K = °C + 273.15

Celsius to Kelvin Problem #1

Convert 27° C to Kelvin.

Solution

K = °C + 273
K = 27 + 273
K = 300
300 K

Note that the answer is 300 K. Kelvin is not expressed in degrees. Why is this? A scale measured in degrees indicates it references another scale (i.e., Celsius has degrees because it's actually based on the Kelvin scale). Kelvin is an absolute scale, with an endpoint that can't move (absolute zero). Degrees don't apply to this type of scale.

Celsius to Kelvin Problem #2

Convert 77° C to Kelvin.

Solution

K = °C + 273
K = 77 + 273
K = 350
350 K

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