Liquid oxygen has a distinctive blue color. Credit: Dr. Warwick Hillier / Australian National University

Many physics and chemistry problems require the temperature to be an absolute temperature. This means the calculations require the temperature to be in the Kelvin temperature scale. More often than not, the data you take will be in Celsius. To convert celsius to Kelvin requires a simple formula:

K = ºC + 273.15

where K is the temperature in Kelvin °C is the temperature in Celsius

Remember, the Kelvin temperature scale does not use the degree (°) symbol, just the abbreviation K.

Example Problem: Liquid oxygen boils at normal pressure at -182.96 °C. What is this temperature in Kelvin?

Solution: K = ºC + 273.15 K = -182.96 + 273.15 K = 90.19 K

Answer: Liquid oxygen boils at 90.19 K under normal pressure.