Body temperature is an individual thing. The average body temp for people is 98.6 degrees, but that is only the average. Some people's body temp is 97 degrees and would be feverish at 98.6.
Hyperthermia is elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. Extreme temperature elevation then becomes a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.
The most common causes include heat stroke and adverse reactions to drugs. The former is an acute temperature elevation caused by exposure to excessive heat, or combination of heat and humidity, that overwhelms the heat-regulating mechanisms. The latter is a relatively rare side effect of many drugs, particularly those that affect the central nervous system. Malignant hyperthermia is a rare complication of some types of general anesthesia.
Hyperthermia can also be deliberately induced using drugs or medical devices and may be used in the treatment of some kinds of cancer and other conditions, most commonly in conjunction with radiotherapy.
Hyperthermia differs from fever in that the body's temperature set point remains unchanged. The opposite is hypothermia, which occurs when the temperature drops below that required to maintain normal metabolism.
Hyperthermia is defined as a temperature greater than 37.5–38.3 °C (100–101 °F), depending on the reference used, that occurs without a change in the body's temperature set point.
The normal human body temperature in health can be as high as in the late afternoon. Hyperthermia requires an elevation from the temperature that would otherwise be expected. Such elevations range from mild to extreme; body temperatures above can be life threatening.
Hot, dry, skin is typical as blood vessels dilate in an attempt to increase heat loss. An inability to cool the body through perspiration may cause the skin to feel dry.
Other signs and symptoms vary. Accompanying dehydration can produce nausea, vomiting, headaches, and low blood pressure and the latter can lead to fainting or dizziness, especially if the standing position is assumed quickly.
In severe heat stroke, there may be confused, hostile, or seemingly intoxicated behavior. Heart rate and respiration rate will increase (tachycardia and tachypnea) as blood pressure drops and the heart attempts to maintain adequate circulation. The decrease in blood pressure can then cause blood vessels to contract reflexly, resulting in a pale or bluish skin color in advanced cases. Young children, in particular, may have seizures. Eventually, organ failure, unconsciousness and death will result.
Heat stroke occurs when thermoregulation is overwhelmed by a combination of excessive metabolic production of heat (exertion), excessive environmental heat, and insufficient or impaired heat loss, resulting in an abnormally high body temperature. In severe cases, temperatures can exceed . Heat stroke may be non-exertional (classic) or exertional.
Significant physical exertion in hot conditions can generate heat beyond the ability to cool, because, in addition to the heat, humidity of the environment may reduce the efficiency of the body's normal cooling mechanisms. Heat loss mechanisms are limited to vasodilation of skin vessels and increased rate of sweating. Vasodilation dissipates heat by convection and sweating by evaporation. However, thermoregulation can be assisted with shade or fans. Other factors, such as insufficient water intake, consuming alcohol, or lack of air conditioning, can worsen the problem.
The principles of physics involved include:
Non-exertional heat stroke mostly affects the young and elderly. In the elderly in particular, it can be precipitated by medications such as anticholinergic drugs, antihistamines, and diuretics that reduce vasodilation, sweating, and other heat-loss mechanisms. In this situation, the body's tolerance for high environmental temperature may be insufficient, even at rest.
Heat waves in the United States are followed by a rise in the death rate and these 'classical hyperthermia' deaths involve the elderly and infirm. This is partly because thermoregulation involves cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems which may be inadequate for the additional stress because of the existing burden of aging and disease, further compromised by medications. During the July 1995 heat wave in Chicago, there were at least 700 heat-related deaths. The strongest risk factors were being confined to bed, and living alone, while the risk was reduced for those with working air conditioners and those with access to transportation. Even then, reported deaths may be underestimates as diagnosis can be misclassified as stroke or heart attack.
Some drugs cause excessive internal heat production. The rate of drug-induced hyperthermia is higher where use of these drugs is higher.
Those working in industry, the military and first responders, may be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against hazards such as chemical agents, gases, fire, small arms and even Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). PPE includes a range of hazmat suits, firefighting turnout gear, body armor and bomb suits, amongst others. Depending on design, the wearer may be encapsulated in a microclimate, due to an increase in thermal resistance and decrease in vapor permeability. As physical work is performed, the body’s natural thermoregulation (i.e., sweating) becomes ineffective. This is compounded by increased work rates, high ambient temperature and humidity levels, and direct exposure to the sun. The net effect is that desired protection from some environmental threats inadvertently increases the threat of heat stress.
Other rare causes of hyperthermia include thyrotoxicosis and an adrenal gland tumor, called pheochromocytoma, both of which can cause increased heat production. Damage to the central nervous system, from brain hemorrhage, status epilepticus, and other kinds of injury to the hypothalamus can also cause hyperthermia.
A fever occurs when the core temperature is set higher, through the action of the pre-optic region of the anterior hypothalamus. For example, in response to a bacterial or viral infection, certain white blood cells within the blood will release pyrogens which have a direct effect on the anterior hypothalamus, causing body temperature to rise, much like raising the temperature setting on a thermostat.
In contrast, hyperthermia occurs when the body temperature rises without a change in the heat control centers.
Some of the gastrointestinal symptoms of acute exertional heat stroke, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal bleeding, may be caused by barrier dysfunction and subsequent endotoxemia. Ultraendurance athletes have been found to have significantly increased plasma endotoxin levels. Endotoxin stimulates many inflammatory cytokines, which in turn may cause multiorgan dysfunction. Experimentally, monkeys treated with oral antibiotics prior to induction of heat stroke do not become endotoxemic.
There is scientific support for the concept of a temperature set point - that is, maintenance of an optimal temperature for the metabolic processes that life depends on. Nervous activity in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamus of the brain triggers heat losing (sweating, etc.) or heat generating (shivering and muscle contraction, etc.) activities through stimulation of the autonomic nervous system. The pre-optic anterior hypothalamus has been shown to contain warm sensitive, cool sensitive, and temperature insensitive neurons, to determine the body's temperature setpoint. As the temperature that these neurons are exposed to rises above 37C. degrees, the rate of electrical discharge of the warm-sensitive neurons increases progressively. Cold-sensitive neurons increase their rate of electrical discharge progressively below 37C. degrees.
Hyperthermia is generally diagnosed by the combination of unexpectedly high body temperature and a history that supports hyperthermia instead of a fever. Most commonly this means that the elevated temperature has occurred in a hot, humid environment (heat stroke) or in someone taking a drug for which hyperthermia is a known side effect (drug-induced hyperthermia). The presence of signs and symptoms related to hyperthermia syndromes, such as extrapyramidal symptoms characteristic of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and the absence of signs and symptoms more commonly related to infection-related fevers, are also considered in making the diagnosis.
If fever-reducing drugs lower the body temperature, even if the temperature does not return entirely to normal, then hyperthermia is excluded.
When ambient temperature is excessive, humans and many animals cool themselves below ambient by evaporative cooling of sweat (or other aqueous liquid; saliva in dogs, for example); this helps to prevent potentially fatal hyperthermia. The effectiveness of evaporative cooling depends upon humidity; wet-bulb temperature, which takes account of humidity, or more complex calculated quantities such as Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) which also takes account of solar radiation, give useful indications of the degree of heat stress, and are used by several agencies as the basis for heat stress prevention guidelines. (Wet-bulb temperature is essentially the lowest skin temperature attainable by evaporative cooling at a given ambient temperature and humidity.)
A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35 °C is likely to be fatal even to fit and healthy people, unclothed in the shade next to a fan; at this temperature, environmental heat gain instead of loss occurs. As of 2012[update] wet-bulb temperatures only very rarely exceeded 30 °C anywhere, although significant global warming may change this.
In cases of heat stress caused by physical exertion, hot environments or protective equipment, prevention or mitigation by frequent rest breaks, careful hydration and monitoring body temperature, should be attempted. However, in situations demanding prolonged exposure to a hot environment or wearing protective equipment, a personal cooling system is required as a matter of health and safety. A variety of active or passive, personal, cooling systems exist which can be categorized by their power sources and whether they are man or vehicle mounted.
Due to the broad variety of operating conditions, a these devices must meet specific requirements, such as rate and duration of cooling, need for physical mobility and autonomy, access to power, and conformance with health and safety regulations. For example, active liquid systems operate on the basis of chilling water and circulating it through a garment that cools the skin surface area that it covers through conduction. This type of system has proven successful in certain Military, Law Enforcement and Industrial applications. Bomb disposal technicians wearing bomb suits to protect against an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) use a small, ice-based chiller unit strapped to their leg with a Liquid Circulating Garment, usually a vest, worn over their torso to maintain their core temperature at safe levels. By contrast, soldiers traveling in combat vehicles can face microclimate temperatures in excess of 65 °C and require a multiple user, vehicle-powered cooling system with rapid connection capabilities. Requirements for Hazmat teams, the medical community and workers in heavy industry will vary further.
The underlying cause must be removed. Mild hyperthemia caused by exertion on a hot day may be adequately treated through self-care measures, such as increased water consumption and resting in a cool place. Hyperthermia that results from drug exposure requires prompt cessation of that drug, and occasionally the use of other drugs as counter measures. Fever-reducing drugs such as paracetamol and aspirin have value in treating hyperthermia.
When body temperature is significantly elevated, mechanical cooling methods are used to remove heat and to restore the body's ability to regulate its own temperatures. Passive cooling techniques, such as resting in a cool, shady area and removing clothing can be applied immediately. Active cooling methods, such as sponging the head, neck, and trunk with cool water, remove heat from the body and thereby speed the body's return to normal temperatures. Drinking water and turning a fan or dehumidifying air conditioning unit on the affected person may improve the effectiveness of the body's evaporative cooling mechanisms (sweating).
Sitting in a bathtub of tepid or cool water (immersion method) can remove a significant amount of heat in a relatively short period of time. It is thought by some that immersion in very cold water is counterproductive, as it causes vasoconstriction in the skin and thereby prevents heat from escaping the body core. However one British analysis of various studies stated "supporters of other cooling methods suggest that iced water immersion may cause peripheral vasoconstriction and therefore slow cooling, although this has never been proven experimentally. Indeed, a recent study using normal volunteers has shown that cooling rates were fastest when the coldest water was used". In exertional heat stroke, studies have shown that although there are practical limitations, cool water immersion is the most effective cooling technique and the biggest predictor of outcome is degree and duration of hyperthermia. No superior cooling method has been found for nonexertional heat stroke.
When the body temperature reaches about 40°C, or if the affected person is unconscious or showing signs of confusion, hyperthermia is considered a medical emergency that requires treatment in a proper medical facility. In a hospital, more aggressive cooling measures are available, including intravenous hydration, gastric lavage with iced saline, and even hemodialysis to cool the blood.
The frequency of environmental hyperthermia can vary significantly from year to year depending on factors such as heat waves.
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Russian German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, German climatologist Rudolf Geiger collaborated with Köppen on changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes referred to as the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system. The system is based on the concept that native vegetation is the best expression of climate. Thus, climate zone boundaries have been selected with vegetation distribution in mind. It combines average annual and monthly temperatures and precipitation, and the seasonality of precipitation.:200–1
The Köppen climate classification scheme divides climates into five main groups, each having several types and subtypes. Each particular climate type is represented by a 2 to 4 letter symbol.
Tropical climates are characterized by constant high temperature (at sea level and low elevations) — all twelve months of the year have average temperatures of or higher. They are subdivided as follows:
These climates are characterized by the fact that actual precipitation is less than a threshold value set equal to the potential evapotranspiration.:212 The threshold value (in millimeters) is determined as follows:
These climates have an average temperature above in their warmest months (April to September in northern hemisphere), and a coldest month average between −3 and 18 °C (27 and 64 °F).
Some climatologists, particularly in the United States, however, prefer to observe rather than in the coldest month as the boundary between this group and the colder Group D (Humid Continental).This is also done to prevent certain mild headland locations on the upper East Coast of the USA and Japan from fitting into the C group.
When the boundary between C (Mild Temperate/mesothermal climates) and D (Cold winter/microthermal climates) is increased to 32 F (not the 27 F suggested by Köppen), this creates a smaller C zone located further southward. In the USA, areas from the NYC metropolitan area (NYC/New Jersey/southern Connecticut) southward, as well as the lower Ohio Valley, lower Midwest, and southern Plains are located in the mild C group...while locations to the north of these regions (Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, upper Ohio Valley and upper East Coast (Boston northward), are located in the cooler D group. Using 32 F also pushes parts of the northeast and northcentral Asia (northern Japan, northern China, and northern Korea) into the colder D/microthermal group (aka known as humid continental).
These climates have an average temperature above in their warmest months, and a coldest month average below −3 °C (or 0 °C in some versions, as noted previously). These usually occur in the interiors of continents and on their upper east coasts, normally north of 40° North latitude. In the Southern Hemisphere, Group D climates are extremely rare due to the smaller land masses in the middle latitudes and the almost complete absence of land at 40°–60° South latitude, existing only in some highland locations.
Group D climates are subdivided as follows:
These climates are characterized by average temperatures below in all twelve months of the year:
Some climatologists have argued that Köppen's system could be improved upon. One of the most frequently-raised objections concerns the temperate Group C category, regarded by many as overbroad. Using the 0°C isotherm, New Orleans, LA and London would both fall into this climate scheme, despite dramatic differences between these 2 locations. In Applied Climatology (first edition published in 1966), John F. Griffiths proposed a new subtropical zone, encompassing those areas with a coldest month of between 6 and 18 °C (43 and 64 °F), effectively subdividing Group C into two nearly equal parts (his scheme assigns the letter B to the new zone, and identifies dry climates with an additional letter immediately following the temperature-based letter).
Another point of contention involves the dry B climates; the argument here is that their separation by Köppen into only two thermal subsets is inadequate. Those who hold this view (including Griffiths) have suggested that the dry climates be placed on the same temperature continuum as other climates, with the thermal letter being followed by an additional capital letter — S for steppe or W (or D) for desert — as applicable (Griffiths also advances an alternate formula for use as an aridity threshold: R = 160 + 9T, with R equalling the threshold, in millimeters of mean annual precipitation, and T denoting the mean annual temperature in degrees Celsius).
A third idea is to create a maritime polar or EM zone within Group E to separate relatively mild marine locations (such as the Falkland Islands, and the outer Aleutian Islands) from the colder, continental tundra climates. Specific proposals vary; some advocate setting a coldest-month parameter, such as , while others support assigning the new designation to areas with an average annual temperature of above 0 °C.
The accuracy of the 10 °C warmest-month line as the start of the polar climates has also been questioned; Otto Nordenskiöld, for example, devised an alternate formula: W = 9 − 0.1 C, with W representing the average temperature of the warmest month and C that of the coldest month, both in degrees Celsius (for instance, if the coldest month averaged −20 °C, a warmest-month average of 11 °C or higher would be necessary to prevent the climate from being polar). This boundary does appear to more closely follow the tree line, or the latitude poleward of which trees cannot grow, than the 10 °C warmest-month isotherm; the former tends to run poleward of the latter near the western margins of the continents, but at a lower latitude in the landmass interiors, the two lines crossing at or near the east coasts of both Asia and North America.
The Trewartha climate classification scheme (1966 and 1980 update) is a modified version of the Köppen system, and was an answer to some of the deficiencies of the 1899 Köppen system. The newer Trewartha theme attempts to redefine the middle latitudes in such a way as to be closer to vegetational zoning and genetic climate systems. This change was seen as most effective in Asia and North America, where many areas fell into a single zone (the C climate group). Under the standard Köppen system in the USA for example, western Washington and Oregon are classed into the same climate as southern California, even though the two regions have strikingly different weather and vegetation. The Köppen system also classes Midwest into the same climate as the Gulf Coast.
Trewartha's modifications sought to reclass the middle latitudes into zones; 1) Subtropical - 8 or more months have a mean temperature of 50 F/10 C or higher. 2) Temperate - 4 to 7 months have a mean temperature of 10 C or higher. 3) Boreal (or subarctic) - 1 to 3 months have a mean temperature of 10 C or higher. This change from the older Köppen system was thought to reflect a more true or "real world" reflection of the global climate.
Based on recent data sets from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia and the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) at the German Weather Service, a new digital Köppen–Geiger world map on climate classification for the second half of the 20th century has been compiled.
All maps use the ≥0 °C definition for temperate climates and the 18 °C annual mean temperature threshold to distinguish between hot and cold dry climates.
Köppen map of Africa
Köppen map of the Americas
Köppen map of Asia
Köppen map of Australia/Oceania
Köppen map of Brazil
Köppen map of Europe
Köppen map of North America
Köppen map of South Asia
Köppen map of Russia
Köppen map of South America
Köppen map of the Middle East
Atmospheric temperature range is the numerical difference between the minimum and maximum values of temperature observed in a given location.
A temperature range may refer to a period of time (e.g., in a given day, month, year, century) or to an average (average of all temperature ranges in a period of time). The variation in temperature that occurs from the highs of the day to the cool of nights is called diurnal temperature variation.
The size of ground-level atmospheric temperature ranges depends on several factors, such as:
A location which combines an average temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, 60% average humidity and a temperature range of about 10 degrees Celsius around the average temperature (yearly temperature variation) is considered ideal in terms of comfort for the human species. Most of the places with these characteristics are located in the transition between temperate and tropical climates, approximately around the tropics, particularly in the Southern hemisphere (the tropic of Capricorn). The figure at left shows an example of monthly temperatures recorded at one of such locations, the city of Campinas, state of São Paulo, Brazil, which lies approximately 60 km north of the Capricorn line (latitude of 22 degrees). Average yearly temperature is 22.4 degrees Celsius, ranging from an average minimum of 12.2 degrees to a maximum of 29.9 degrees. The average temperature range is 11.4 degrees . Variability along the year is small (standard deviation of 2.31 for the maximum monthly average and 4.11 for the minimum). One can easily see in the graph another typical phenomenon of temperature ranges, which is its increase during winter (lower average air temperature). In Campinas, for example, the daily temperature range in July (the coolest month of the year) may vary between typically 10 and 24 degrees Celsius (range of 14), while in January, it may range between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (range of 10).
The effect of latitude, tropical climate, constant gentle wind and sea-side locations clearly show smaller average temperature ranges, smaller variations of temperature, and a higher average temperature (second graph, taken for the same period as Campinas, at Aracaju, capital of the state of Sergipe, also in Brazil, at a latitude of 10 degrees, nearer to the Equator). Average maximum yearly temperature is 28.7 degrees Celsius and average minimum is 21.9. The average temperature range is 5.7 degrees only. Temperature variation along the year in Aracaju is very damped (standard deviation of 1.93 for the maximum temperature and 2.72 for the minimum temperature).
The minimum temperature at night does not occur on the ground but few tens of centimeters above the ground. The lowest temperature layer is called Ramdas layer after L. A. Ramdas, who first reported this phenomenon in 1932 based on observations at different screen heights at six meteorological centers across India. The phenomenon is attributed to the interaction of thermal radiation effects on atmospheric aerosols and convection transfer close to the ground.
of a body is a quantity which indicates how hot or cold the body is. It is measured by detection of heat radiation, or by a material thermometer, which may be calibrated in any of various temperature scales, Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, etc. The fundamental physical definition of temperature is provided by thermodynamics.
Measurements with a small thermometer, or by detection of heat radiation, can show that the temperature of a body of material can vary from time to time and from place to place within it. For example, a lightning bolt can heat a small portion of the atmosphere hotter than the surface of the sun. If changes happen too fast, or with too small a spacing, within a body, it may be impossible to define its temperature.
In a body that exchanges no energy or matter with its surroundings, temperature tends to become spatially uniform as time passes. When a path permeable only to heat is open between two bodies, energy always transfers spontaneously as heat from a hotter body to a colder one. The transfer rate depends on the thermal conductivity of the path or boundary between them. Between two bodies with the same temperature no heat flows. These bodies are said to be in thermal equilibrium.
Kinetic theory explains the temperature in a body as a manifestation of the kinetic energy of its constituent microscopic particles, such as electrons, atoms, and molecules. The relation between particle kinetic energy and temperature is proportional, according to the Boltzmann constant.
The coldest theoretical temperature is called absolute zero. It cannot be achieved in any actual physical device. It is denoted by 0 K on the Kelvin scale, −273.15 °C on the Celsius scale, and −459.67 °F on the Fahrenheit scale. In matter at absolute zero, the motions of microscopic constituents are minimal.
Temperature is important in all fields of natural science, including physics, geology, chemistry, atmospheric sciences and biology.
Many things depend on temperature, such as
Much of the world uses the Celsius scale (°C) for most temperature measurements. It has the same incremental scaling as the Kelvin scale used by scientists, but fixes its null point, at = , approximately the freezing point of water (at one atmosphere of pressure). The United States uses the Fahrenheit scale for common purposes, a scale on which water freezes at 32 °F and boils at 212 °F (at one atmosphere of pressure).
For practical purposes of scientific temperature measurement, the International System of Units (SI) defines a scale and unit for the thermodynamic temperature by using the easily reproducible temperature of the triple point of water as a second reference point. The reason for this choice is that, unlike the freezing and boiling point temperatures, the temperature at the triple point is independent of pressure (since the triple point is a fixed point on a two-dimensional plot of pressure vs. temperature). For historical reasons, the triple point temperature of water is fixed at 273.16 units of the measurement increment, which has been named the kelvin in honor of the Scottish physicist who first defined the scale. The unit symbol of the kelvin is K.
Absolute zero is defined as a temperature of precisely 0 kelvins, which is equal to −273.15 °C or −459.67 °F.
Temperature is one of the principal quantities in the study of thermodynamics.
There is a variety of kinds of temperature scale. It may be convenient to classify them as empirically and theoretically based. Empirical temperature scales are historically older, while theoretically based scales arose in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Empirically based temperature scales rely directly on measurements of simple physical properties of materials. For example, the length of a column of mercury, confined in in a glass-walled capillary tube, is dependent largely on temperature, and is the basis of the very useful mercury-in-glass thermometer. Such scales are valid only within convenient ranges of temperature. For example, above the boiling point of mercury, a mercury-in-glass thermometer is impracticable. Most materials expand with temperature increase, but some materials, such as water, contract with temperature increase over some specific range, and then they are hardly useful as thermometric materials. A material is of no use as a thermometer near one of its phase-change temperatures, for example its boiling-point.
In spite of these restrictions, empirical thermometry is very useful for practical purposes. Especially, it was used for calorimetry, which contributed greatly to the discovery of thermodynamics. Nevertheless, empirical thermometry has serious drawbacks when judged as a basis for theoretical physics. Empirically based thermometers, beyond their base as simple direct measurements of ordinary physical properties of thermometric materials, can be re-calibrated, by use of theoretical physical reasoning, and this can extend their range of adequacy.
Theoretically based temperature scales are based directly on theoretical arguments, especially those of thermodynamics, of kinetic theory, and of quantum mechanics. They rely on theoretical properties of idealized devices and materials. They are more or less comparable with practically feasible physical devices and materials. An ideal material on which a temperature scale can be based is the ideal gas. The pressure exerted by a fixed volume and mass of an ideal gas is directly proportional to its temperature. Some natural gases show so nearly ideal properties over suitable temperature ranges that they can be used for thermometry; this was important during the development of thermodynamics. The accepted fundamental thermodynamic temperature scale is the Kelvin scale, based on an ideal cyclic process envisaged for a Carnot heat engine. Measurement of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation from an ideal black body can provide an accurate temperature measurement because the frequency of maximum spectral radiance of black-body radiation is directly proportional to the temperature of the black body; this is known as Wien's displacement law, and has a theoretical explanation in Planck's law and the Bose–Einstein law. If molecules, or atoms, or electrons, are emitted from a material and their velocities are measured, the spectrum of their velocities often nearly obeys a theoretical law called the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, which gives a well-founded measurement of temperatures for which the law holds. There have not yet been successful experiments of this same kind that directly use the Fermi–Dirac distribution for thermometry, but perhaps that will be achieved in future.
The thermodynamic definition of temperature is due to Kelvin.
It is framed in terms of an idealized device called a Carnot engine, imagined to define a continuous cycle of states of its working body. The cycle is imagined to run so slowly that at each point of the cycle the working body is in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. There are four limbs in such a Carnot cycle. The engine consists of four bodies. The main one is called the working body. Two of them are called heat reservoirs, so large that their respective non-deformation variables are not changed by transfer of energy as heat through a wall permeable only to heat to the working body. The fourth body is able to exchange energy with the working body only through adiabatic work; it may be called the work reservoir. The substances and states of the two heat reservoirs should be chosen so that they are not in thermal equilibrium with one another. This means that they must be at different fixed temperatures, one, labeled here with the number 1, hotter than the other, labeled here with the number 2. This can be tested by connecting the heat reservoirs successively to an auxiliary thermometric body, which is required to show changes in opposite senses to its non-deformation variable, and which is composed of a material that has a strictly monotonic relation to the amount of work done on it in an isochoric adiabatic process. Typically, such a material expands as the surrounds do isochoric work on it. In order to settle the structure and sense of operation of the Carnot cycle, it is convenient to use such a material also for the working body; because most materials are of this kind, this is hardly a restriction of the generality of this definition. The Carnot cycle is considered to start from an initial condition of the working body that was reached by the completion of a reversible adiabatic compression. From there, the working body is initially connected by a wall permeable only to heat to the heat reservoir number 1, so that during the first limb of the cycle it expands and does work on the work reservoir. The second limb of the cycle sees the working body expand adiabatically and reversibly, with no energy exchanged as heat, but more energy being transferred as work to the work reservoir. The third limb of the cycle sees the working body connected, through a wall permeable only to heat, to the heat reservoir 2, contracting and accepting energy as work from the work reservoir. The cycle is closed by reversible adiabatic compression of the working body, with no energy transferred as heat, but energy being transferred to it as work from the work reservoir.
With this set-up, the four limbs of the reversible Carnot cycle are characterized by amounts of energy transferred, as work from the working body to the work reservoir, and as heat from the heat reservoirs to the working body. The amounts of energy transferred as heat from the heat reservoirs are measured through the changes in the non-deformation variable of the working body, with reference to the previously known properties of that body, the amounts of work done on the work reservoir, and the first law of thermodynamics. The amounts of energy transferred as heat respectively from reservoir 1 and from reservoir 2 may then be denoted respectively and . Then the absolute or thermodynamic temperatures, and , of the reservoirs are defined so that to be such that
Kelvin's original work postulating absolute temperature was published in 1848. It was based on the work of Carnot, before the formulation of the first law of thermodynamics. Kelvin wrote in his 1848 paper that his scale was absolute in the sense that was defined "independently of the properties of any particular kind of matter." His definitive publication, which sets out the definition just stated, was printed in 1853, a paper read in 1851.
This definition rests on the physical assumption that there are readily available walls permeable only to heat. In his detailed definition of a wall permeable only to heat, Carathéodory includes several ideas. The non-deformation state variable of a closed system is represented as a real number. A state of thermal equilibrium between two closed systems connected by a wall permeable only to heat means that a certain mathematical relation holds between the state variables, including the respective non-deformation variables, of those two systems (that particular mathematical relation is regarded by Buchdahl as a preferred statement of the zeroth law of thermodynamics). Also, referring to thermal contact equilibrium, "whenever each of the systems and is made to reach equilibrium with a third system under identical conditions, the systems and are in mutual equilibrium." It may viewed as a re-statement of the principle stated by Maxwell in the words: "All heat is of the same kind." This physical idea is also expressed by Bailyn as a possible version of the zeroth law of thermodynamics: "All diathermal walls are equivalent." Thus the present definition of thermodynamic temperature rests on the zeroth law of thermodynamics. Explicitly, this present definition of thermodynamic temperature also rests on the first law of thermodynamics, for the determination of amounts of energy transferred as heat.
Implicitly for this definition, the second law of thermodynamics provides information that establishes the virtuous character of the temperature so defined. It provides that any working substance that complies with the requirement stated in this definition will lead to the same ratio of thermodynamic temperatures, which in this sense is universal, or absolute. The second law of thermodynamics also provides that the thermodynamic temperature defined in this way is positive, because this definition requires that the heat reservoirs not be in thermal equilibrium with one another, and the cycle can be imagined to operate only in one sense if net work is to be supplied to the work reservoir.
Numerical details are settled by making one of the heat reservoirs a cell at the triple point of water, which is defined to have an absolute temperature of 273.16 K. The zeroth law of thermodynamics allows this definition to be used to measure the absolute or thermodynamic temperature of an arbitrary body of interest, by making the other heat reservoir have the same temperature as the body of interest.
In thermodynamic terms, temperature is an intensive variable because it is equal to a differential coefficient of one extensive variable with respect to another, for a given body. It thus has the dimensions of a ratio of two extensive variables. In thermodynamics, two bodies are often considered as connected by contact with a common wall, which has some specific permeability properties. Such specific permeability can be referred to a specific intensive variable. An example is a diathermic wall that is permeable only to heat; the intensive variable for this case is temperature. When the two bodies have been in contact for a very long time, and have settled to a permanent steady state, the relevant intensive variables are equal in the two bodies; for a diathermal wall, this statement is sometimes called the zeroth law of thermodynamics.
In particular, when the body is described by stating its internal energy , an extensive variable, as a function of its entropy , also an extensive variable, and other state variables , with ), then the temperature is equal to the partial derivative of the internal energy with respect to the entropy:
Likewise, when the body is described by stating its entropy as a function of its internal energy , and other state variables , with , then the reciprocal of the temperature is equal to the partial derivative of the entropy with respect to the internal energy:
The above definition, equation (1), of the absolute temperature is due to Kelvin. It refers to systems closed to transfer of matter, and has special emphasis on directly experimental procedures. A presentation of thermodynamics by Gibbs starts at a more abstract level and deals with systems open to the transfer of matter; in this development of thermodynamics, the equations (2) and (3) above are actually alternative definitions of temperature.
Real world bodies are often not in thermodynamic equilibrium and not homogeneous. For study by methods of classical irreversible thermodynamics, a body is usually spatially and temporally divided conceptually into 'cells' of small size. If classical thermodynamic equilibrium conditions for matter are fulfilled to good approximation in such a 'cell', then it is homogeneous and a temperature exists for it. If this is so for every 'cell' of the body, then local thermodynamic equilibrium is said to prevail throughout the body.
It makes good sense, for example, to say of the extensive variable , or of the extensive variable , that it has a density per unit volume, or a quantity per unit mass of the system, but it makes no sense to speak of density of temperature per unit volume or quantity of temperature per unit mass of the system. On the other hand, it makes no sense to speak of the internal energy at a point, while when local thermodynamic equilibrium prevails, it makes good sense to speak of the temperature at a point. Consequently, temperature can vary from point to point in a medium that is not in global thermodynamic equilibrium, but in which there is local thermodynamic equilibrium.
Thus, when local thermodynamic equilibrium prevails in a body, temperature can be regarded as a spatially varying local property in that body, and this is because temperature is an intensive variable.
Statistical mechanics provides a microscopic explanation of temperature, based on macroscopic systems' being composed of many particles, such as molecules and ions of various species, the particles of a species being all alike. It explains macroscopic phenomena in terms of the mechanics of the molecules and ions, and statistical assessments of their joint adventures. In the statistical thermodynamic approach, by the equipartition theorem each classical degree of freedom that the particle has will have an average energy of kT/2
is Boltzmann's constant. The translational motion of the particle has three degrees of freedom, so that, except at very low temperatures where quantum effects predominate, the average translational energy of a particle in an system with temperature T
will be 3kT/2
Molecules, such as oxygen (O2
), have more degrees of freedom than single spherical atoms: they undergo rotational and vibrational motions as well as translations. Heating results in an increase in temperature due to an increase in the average translational energy of the molecules. Heating will also cause, through equipartitioning, the energy associated with vibrational and rotational modes to increase. Thus a diatomic gas will require a higher energy input to increase its temperature by a certain amount, i.e. it will have a higher heat capacity than a monatomic gas.
The process of cooling involves removing thermal energy from a system. When no more energy can be removed, the system is at absolute zero, which cannot be achieved experimentally. Absolute zero is the null point of the thermodynamic temperature scale, also called absolute temperature. If it were possible to cool a system to absolute zero, all motion of the particles comprising matter would cease and they would be at complete rest in this classical
sense. Microscopically in the description of quantum mechanics, however, matter still has zero-point energy even at absolute zero, because of the uncertainty principle.
Temperature is a measure of a quality of a state of a material The quality may be regarded as a more abstract entity than any particular temperature scale that measures it, and is called hotness
by some writers. The quality of hotness refers to the state of material only in a particular locality, and in general, apart from bodies held in a steady state of thermodynamic equilibrium, hotness varies from place to place. It is not necessarily the case that a material in a particular place is in a state that is steady and nearly homogeneous enough to allow it to have a well-defined hotness or temperature. Hotness may be represented abstractly as a one-dimensional manifold. Every valid temperature scale has its own one-to-one map into the hotness manifold.
When two systems in thermal contact are at the same temperature no heat transfers between them. When a temperature difference does exist heat flows spontaneously from the warmer system to the colder system until they are in thermal equilibrium. Heat transfer occurs by conduction or by thermal radiation.
Experimental physicists, for example Galileo and Newton, found that there are indefinitely many empirical temperature scales. Nevertheless, the zeroth law of thermodynamics says that they all measure the same quality.
For experimental physics, hotness means that, when comparing any two given bodies in their respective separate thermodynamic equilibria, any two suitably given empirical thermometers with numerical scale readings will agree as to which is the hotter of the two given bodies, or that they have the same temperature. This does not require the two thermometers to have a linear relation between their numerical scale readings, but it does require that the relation between their numerical readings shall be strictly monotonic. A definite sense of greater hotness can be had, independently of calorimetry, of thermodynamics, and of properties of particular materials, from Wien's displacement law of thermal radiation: the temperature of a bath of thermal radiation is proportional, by a universal constant, to the frequency of the maximum of its frequency spectrum; this frequency is always positive, but can have values that tend to zero. Thermal radiation is initially defined for a cavity in thermodynamic equilibrium. These physical facts justify a mathematical statement that hotness exists on an ordered one-dimensional manifold. This is a fundamental character of temperature and thermometers for bodies in their own thermodynamic equilibrium.
Except for a system undergoing a first-order phase change such as the melting of ice, as a closed system receives heat, without change in its volume and without change in external force fields acting on it, its temperature rises. For a system undergoing such a phase change so slowly that departure from thermodynamic equilibrium can be neglected, its temperature remains constant as the system is supplied with latent heat. Conversely, a loss of heat from a closed system, without phase change, without change of volume, and without change in external force fields acting on it, decreases its temperature.
While for bodies in their own thermodynamic equilibrium states, the notion of temperature requires that all empirical thermometers must agree as to which of two bodies is the hotter or that they are at the same temperature, this requirement is not safe for bodies that are in steady states though not in thermodynamic equilibrium. It can then well be that different empirical thermometers disagree about which is the hotter, and if this is so, then at least one of the bodies does not have a well defined absolute thermodynamic temperature. Nevertheless, any one given body and any one suitable empirical thermometer can still support notions of empirical, non-absolute, hotness and temperature, for a suitable range of processes. This is a matter for study in non-equilibrium thermodynamics.
When a body is not in a steady state, then the notion of temperature becomes even less safe than for a body in a steady state not in thermodynamic equilibrium. This is also a matter for study in non-equilibrium thermodynamics.
For axiomatic treatment of thermodynamic equilibrium, since the 1930s, it has become customary to refer to a zeroth law of thermodynamics. The customarily stated minimalist version of such a law postulates only that all bodies, which when thermally connected would be in thermal equilibrium, should be said to have the same temperature by definition, but by itself does not establish temperature as a quantity expressed as a real number on a scale. A more physically informative version of such a law views empirical temperature as a chart on a hotness manifold. While the zeroth law permits the definitions of many different empirical scales of temperature, the second law of thermodynamics selects the definition of a single preferred, absolute temperature, unique up to an arbitrary scale factor, whence called the thermodynamic temperature. If internal energy is considered as a function of the volume and entropy of a homogeneous system in thermodynamic equilibrium, thermodynamic absolute temperature appears as the partial derivative of internal energy with respect the entropy at constant volume. Its natural, intrinsic origin or null point is absolute zero at which the entropy of any system is at a minimum. Although this is the lowest absolute temperature described by the model, the third law of thermodynamics postulates that absolute zero cannot be attained by any physical system.
When a sample is heated, meaning it receives thermal energy from an external source, some of the introduced heat is converted into kinetic energy, the rest to other forms of internal energy, specific to the material. The amount converted into kinetic energy causes the temperature of the material to rise. The introduced heat (
) divided by the observed temperature change is the heat capacity (C
) of the material.
If heat capacity is measured for a well defined amount of substance, the specific heat is the measure of the heat required to increase the temperature of such a unit quantity by one unit of temperature. For example, to raise the temperature of water by one kelvin (equal to one degree Celsius) requires 4186 joules per kilogram (J/kg)..
Temperature measurement using modern scientific thermometers and temperature scales goes back at least as far as the early 18th century, when Gabriel Fahrenheit adapted a thermometer (switching to mercury) and a scale both developed by Ole Christensen Rømer. Fahrenheit's scale is still in use in the United States for non-scientific applications.
Temperature is measured with thermometers that may be calibrated to a variety of temperature scales. In most of the world (except for Belize, Myanmar, Liberia and the United States), the Celsius scale is used for most temperature measuring purposes. Most scientists measure temperature using the Celsius scale and thermodynamic temperature using the Kelvin scale, which is the Celsius scale offset so that its null point is = , or absolute zero. Many engineering fields in the U.S., notably high-tech and US federal specifications (civil and military), also use the Kelvin and Celsius scales. Other engineering fields in the U.S. also rely upon the Rankine scale (a shifted Fahrenheit scale) when working in thermodynamic-related disciplines such as combustion.
The basic unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI) is the kelvin. It has the symbol K.
For everyday applications, it is often convenient to use the Celsius scale, in which corresponds very closely to the freezing point of water and is its boiling point at sea level. Because liquid droplets commonly exist in clouds at sub-zero temperatures, is better defined as the melting point of ice. In this scale a temperature difference of 1 degree Celsius is the same as a increment, but the scale is offset by the temperature at which ice melts (273.15 K).
By international agreement the Kelvin and Celsius scales are defined by two fixing points: absolute zero and the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water, which is water specially prepared with a specified blend of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes. Absolute zero is defined as precisely and . It is the temperature at which all classical translational motion of the particles comprising matter ceases and they are at complete rest in the classical model. Quantum-mechanically, however, zero-point motion remains and has an associated energy, the zero-point energy. Matter is in its ground state, and contains no thermal energy. The triple point of water is defined as and . This definition serves the following purposes: it fixes the magnitude of the kelvin as being precisely 1 part in 273.16 parts of the difference between absolute zero and the triple point of water; it establishes that one kelvin has precisely the same magnitude as one degree on the Celsius scale; and it establishes the difference between the null points of these scales as being ( = and = ).
In the United States, the Fahrenheit scale is widely used. On this scale the freezing point of water corresponds to 32 °F and the boiling point to 212 °F. The Rankine scale, still used in fields of chemical engineering in the U.S., is an absolute scale based on the Fahrenheit increment.
The following table shows the temperature conversion formulas for conversions to and from the Celsius scale.
The field of plasma physics deals with phenomena of electromagnetic nature that involve very high temperatures. It is customary to express temperature in electronvolts (eV) or kiloelectronvolts (keV), where 1 eV = . In the study of QCD matter one routinely encounters temperatures of the order of a few hundred MeV, equivalent to about .
Historically, there are several scientific approaches to the explanation of temperature: the classical thermodynamic description based on macroscopic empirical variables that can be measured in a laboratory; the kinetic theory of gases which relates the macroscopic description to the probability distribution of the energy of motion of gas particles; and a microscopic explanation based on statistical physics and quantum mechanics. In addition, rigorous and purely mathematical treatments have provided an axiomatic approach to classical thermodynamics and temperature. Statistical physics provides a deeper understanding by describing the atomic behavior of matter, and derives macroscopic properties from statistical averages of microscopic states, including both classical and quantum states. In the fundamental physical description, using natural units, temperature may be measured directly in units of energy. However, in the practical systems of measurement for science, technology, and commerce, such as the modern metric system of units, the macroscopic and the microscopic descriptions are interrelated by the Boltzmann constant, a proportionality factor that scales temperature to the microscopic mean kinetic energy.
The microscopic description in statistical mechanics is based on a model that analyzes a system into its fundamental particles of matter or into a set of classical or quantum-mechanical oscillators and considers the system as a statistical ensemble of microstates. As a collection of classical material particles, temperature is a measure of the mean energy of motion, called kinetic energy, of the particles, whether in solids, liquids, gases, or plasmas. The kinetic energy, a concept of classical mechanics, is half the mass of a particle times its speed squared. In this mechanical interpretation of thermal motion, the kinetic energies of material particles may reside in the velocity of the particles of their translational or vibrational motion or in the inertia of their rotational modes. In monoatomic perfect gases and, approximately, in most gases, temperature is a measure of the mean particle kinetic energy. It also determines the probability distribution function of the energy. In condensed matter, and particularly in solids, this purely mechanical description is often less useful and the oscillator model provides a better description to account for quantum mechanical phenomena. Temperature determines the statistical occupation of the microstates of the ensemble. The microscopic definition of temperature is only meaningful in the thermodynamic limit, meaning for large ensembles of states or particles, to fulfill the requirements of the statistical model.
In the context of thermodynamics, the kinetic energy is also referred to as thermal energy. The thermal energy may be partitioned into independent components attributed to the degrees of freedom of the particles or to the modes of oscillators in a thermodynamic system. In general, the number of these degrees of freedom that are available for the equipartitioning of energy depend on the temperature, i.e. the energy region of the interactions under consideration. For solids, the thermal energy is associated primarily with the vibrations of its atoms or molecules about their equilibrium position. In an ideal monatomic gas, the kinetic energy is found exclusively in the purely translational motions of the particles. In other systems, vibrational and rotational motions also contribute degrees of freedom.
The kinetic theory of gases uses the model of the ideal gas to relate temperature to the average translational kinetic energy of the molecules in a container of gas in thermodynamic equilibrium.
Classical mechanics defines the translational kinetic energy of a gas molecule as follows:
is the particle mass and v
its speed, the magnitude of its velocity. The distribution of the speeds (which determine the translational kinetic energies) of the particles in a classical ideal gas is called the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. The temperature of a classical ideal gas is related to its average kinetic energy per degree of freedom via the equation:
where the Boltzmann constant
= Avogadro number, R
= ideal gas constant). This relation is valid in the ideal gas regime, i.e. when the particle density is much less than
is the thermal de Broglie wavelength. A monoatomic gas has only the three translational degrees of freedom.
The zeroth law of thermodynamics implies that any two given systems in thermal equilibrium have the same temperature. In statistical thermodynamics, it can be deduced from the second law of thermodynamics that they also have the same average kinetic energy per particle.
In a mixture of particles of various masses, lighter particles move faster than do heavier particles, but have the same average kinetic energy. A neon atom moves slowly relative to a hydrogen molecule of the same kinetic energy. A pollen particle suspended in water moves in a slow Brownian motion among fast-moving water molecules.
It has long been recognized that if two bodies of different temperatures are brought into thermal connection, conductive or radiative, they exchange heat accompanied by changes of other state variables. Left isolated from other bodies, the two connected bodies eventually reach a state of thermal equilibrium in which no further changes occur. This basic knowledge is relevant to thermodynamics. Some approaches to thermodynamics take this basic knowledge as axiomatic, other approaches select only one narrow aspect of this basic knowledge as axiomatic, and use other axioms to justify and express deductively the remaining aspects of it. The one aspect chosen by the latter approaches is often stated in textbooks as the zeroth law of thermodynamics, but other statements of this basic knowledge are made by various writers.
The usual textbook statement of the zeroth law of thermodynamics is that if two systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third system, then they are also in thermal equilibrium with each other. This statement is taken to justify a statement that all three systems have the same temperature, but, by itself, it does not justify the idea of temperature as a numerical scale for a concept of hotness which exists on a one-dimensional manifold with a sense of greater hotness. Sometimes the zeroth law is stated to provide the latter justification. For suitable systems, an empirical temperature scale may be defined by the variation of one of the other state variables, such as pressure, when all other coordinates are fixed. The second law of thermodynamics is used to define an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale for systems in thermal equilibrium.
A temperature scale is based on the properties of some reference system to which other thermometers may be calibrated. One such reference system is a fixed quantity of gas. The ideal gas law indicates that the product of the pressure (p
) and volume (V
) of a gas is directly proportional to the thermodynamic temperature:
is temperature, n
is the number of moles of gas and R = is the gas constant. Reformulating the pressure-volume term as the sum of classical mechanical particle energies in terms of particle mass, m
, and root-mean-square particle speed v
, the ideal gas law directly provides the relationship between kinetic energy and temperature:
Thus, one can define a scale for temperature based on the corresponding pressure and volume of the gas: the temperature in kelvins is the pressure in pascals of one mole of gas in a container of one cubic metre, divided by the gas constant. In practice, such a gas thermometer is not very convenient, but other thermometers can be calibrated to this scale.
The pressure, volume, and the number of moles of a substance are all inherently greater than or equal to zero, suggesting that temperature must also be greater than or equal to zero. As a practical matter it is not possible to use a gas thermometer to measure absolute zero temperature since the gasses tend to condense into a liquid long before the temperature reaches zero. It is possible, however, to extrapolate to absolute zero by using the ideal gas law.
In the previous section certain properties of temperature were expressed by the zeroth law of thermodynamics. It is also possible to define temperature in terms of the second law of thermodynamics which deals with entropy. Entropy is often thought of as a measure of the disorder in a system. The second law states that any process will result in either no change or a net increase in the entropy of the universe. This can be understood in terms of probability.
For example, in a series of coin tosses, a perfectly ordered system would be one in which either every toss comes up heads or every toss comes up tails. This means that for a perfectly ordered set of coin tosses, there is only one set of toss outcomes possible: the set in which 100% of tosses come up the same. On the other hand, there are multiple combinations that can result in disordered or mixed systems, where some fraction are heads and the rest tails. A disordered system can be 90% heads and 10% tails, or it could be 98% heads and 2% tails, et cetera. As the number of coin tosses increases, the number of possible combinations corresponding to imperfectly ordered systems increases. For a very large number of coin tosses, the combinations to ~50% heads and ~50% tails dominates and obtaining an outcome significantly different from 50/50 becomes extremely unlikely. Thus the system naturally progresses to a state of maximum disorder or entropy.
It has been previously stated that temperature governs the transfer of heat between two systems and it was just shown that the universe tends to progress so as to maximize entropy, which is expected of any natural system. Thus, it is expected that there is some relationship between temperature and entropy. To find this relationship, the relationship between heat, work and temperature is first considered. A heat engine is a device for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy, resulting in the performance of work, and analysis of the Carnot heat engine provides the necessary relationships. The work from a heat engine corresponds to the difference between the heat put into the system at the high temperature, qH
and the heat ejected at the low temperature, qC
. The efficiency is the work divided by the heat put into the system or:
is the work done per cycle. The efficiency depends only on qC
. Because qC
correspond to heat transfer at the temperatures TC
, respectively, qC
should be some function of these temperatures:
Carnot's theorem states that all reversible engines operating between the same heat reservoirs are equally efficient. Thus, a heat engine operating between T1
must have the same efficiency as one consisting of two cycles, one between T1
, and the second between T2
. This can only be the case if:
Since the first function is independent of T2
, this temperature must cancel on the right side, meaning f
) is of the form g
) (i.e. f
) = f
) = g
) = g
)), where g
is a function of a single temperature. A temperature scale can now be chosen with the property that:
Substituting Equation 4 back into Equation 2 gives a relationship for the efficiency in terms of temperature:
Notice that for TC
= 0 K the efficiency is 100% and that efficiency becomes greater than 100% below 0 K. Since an efficiency greater than 100% violates the first law of thermodynamics, this implies that 0 K is the minimum possible temperature. In fact the lowest temperature ever obtained in a macroscopic system was 20 nK, which was achieved in 1995 at NIST. Subtracting the right hand side of Equation 5 from the middle portion and rearranging gives:
where the negative sign indicates heat ejected from the system. This relationship suggests the existence of a state function, S
, defined by:
where the subscript indicates a reversible process. The change of this state function around any cycle is zero, as is necessary for any state function. This function corresponds to the entropy of the system, which was described previously. Rearranging Equation 6 gives a new definition for temperature in terms of entropy and heat:
For a system, where entropy S
) is a function of its energy E
, the temperature T
is given by:
i.e. the reciprocal of the temperature is the rate of increase of entropy with respect to energy.
Statistical mechanics defines temperature based on a system's fundamental degrees of freedom. Eq.(8) is the defining relation of temperature. Eq. (7) can be derived from the principles underlying the fundamental thermodynamic relation.
It is possible to extend the definition of temperature even to systems of few particles, like in a quantum dot. The generalized temperature is obtained by considering time ensembles instead of configuration space ensembles given in statistical mechanics in the case of thermal and particle exchange between a small system of fermions (N even less than 10) with a single/double occupancy system. The finite quantum grand canonical ensemble, obtained under the hypothesis of ergodicity and orthodicity, allows to express the generalized temperature from the ratio of the average time of occupation 1
of the single/double occupancy system:
is the Fermi energy which tends to the ordinary temperature when N goes to infinity.
On the empirical temperature scales, which are not referenced to absolute zero, a negative temperature is one below the zero-point of the scale used. For example, dry ice has a sublimation temperature of which is equivalent to . On the absolute Kelvin scale, however, this temperature is 194.6 K. On the absolute scale of thermodynamic temperature no material can exhibit a temperature smaller than or equal to 0 K, both of which are forbidden by the third law of thermodynamics.
In the quantum mechanical description of electron and nuclear spin systems that have a limited number of possible states, and therefore a discrete upper limit of energy they can attain, it is possible to obtain a negative temperature, which is numerically indeed less than absolute zero. However, this is not the macroscopic temperature of the material, but instead the temperature of only very specific degrees of freedom, that are isolated from others and do not exchange energy by virtue of the equipartition theorem.
A negative temperature is experimentally achieved with suitable radio frequency techniques that cause a population inversion of spin states from the ground state. As the energy in the system increases upon population of the upper states, the entropy increases as well, as the system becomes less ordered, but attains a maximum value when the spins are evenly distributed among ground and excited states, after which it begins to decrease, once again achieving a state of higher order as the upper states begin to fill exclusively. At the point of maximum entropy, the temperature function shows the behavior of a singularity, because the slope of the entropy function decreases to zero at first and then turns negative. Since temperature is the inverse of the derivative of the entropy, the temperature formally goes to infinity at this point, and switches to negative infinity as the slope turns negative. At energies higher than this point, the spin degree of freedom therefore exhibits formally a negative thermodynamic temperature. As the energy increases further by continued population of the excited state, the negative temperature approaches zero asymptotically. As the energy of the system increases in the population inversion, a system with a negative temperature is not colder than absolute zero, but rather it has a higher energy than at positive temperature, and may be said to be in fact hotter at negative temperatures. When brought into contact with a system at a positive temperature, energy will be transferred from the negative temperature regime to the positive temperature region.
POAH is an acronym for preoptic anterior hypothalamus, the part of the brain that senses core body temperature and regulates it to about 36.8 °C (98.6 °F).
-- Method for Heating the Preoptic Anterior Hypothalamus
is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different. This process is one aspect of homeostasis: a dynamic state of stability between an animal's internal environment and its external
environment (the study of such processes in zoology has been called ecophysiology or physiological ecology). If the body is unable to maintain a normal temperature and it increases significantly above normal, a condition known as hyperthermia occurs. For humans, this occurs when the body is exposed to constant temperatures of approximately , and any prolonged exposure (longer than a few hours) at this temperature and up to around death is almost inevitable.]
[ Humans may also experience lethal hyperthermia when the wet bulb temperature is sustained above for six hours. The opposite condition, when body temperature decreases below normal levels, is known as hypothermia.
Whereas an organism that thermoregulates
is one that keeps its core body temperature within certain limits, a thermoconformer
is subject to changes in body temperature according to changes in the temperature outside of its body at a certain temperature. It was not until the introduction of thermometers that any exact data on the temperature of animals could be obtained. It was then found that local differences were present, since heat production and heat loss vary considerably in different parts of the body, although the circulation of the blood tends to bring about a mean temperature of the internal parts. Hence it is important to identify the parts of the body that most closely reflect the temperature of the internal organs. Also, for such results to be comparable, the measurements must be conducted under comparable conditions. The rectum has traditionally been considered to reflect most accurately the temperature of internal parts, or in some cases of sex or species, the vagina, uterus or bladder.
Occasionally the temperature of the urine as it leaves the urethra may be of use. More often the temperature is taken in the mouth, axilla, ear or groin.
Some animals undergo one of various forms of dormancy where the thermoregulation process temporarily allows the body temperature to drop, thereby conserving energy. Examples include hibernating bears and torpor in bats.
Thermoregulation in organisms runs along a spectrum from endothermy to ectothermy. Endotherms create most of their heat via metabolic processes, and are colloquially referred to as warm-blooded. Ectotherms use external sources of temperature to regulate their body temperatures. They are colloquially referred to as cold-blooded despite the fact that body temperatures often stay within the same temperature ranges as warm-blooded animals.
To cope with low temperatures, some fish have developed the ability to remain functional even when the water temperature is below freezing; some use natural antifreeze or antifreeze proteins to resist ice crystal formation in their tissues. Amphibians and reptiles cope with heat loss by evaporative cooling and behavioral adaptations. An example of behavioral adaptation is that of a lizard lying in the sun on a hot rock in order to heat through conduction.
An endotherm is an animal that regulates its own body temperature, typically by keeping it at a constant level. To regulate body temperature, an organism may need to prevent heat gains in arid environments. Evaporation of water, either across respiratory surfaces or across the skin in those animals possessing sweat glands, helps in cooling body temperature to within the organism's tolerance range. Animals with a body covered by fur have limited ability to sweat, relying heavily on panting
to increase evaporation of water across the moist surfaces of the lungs and the tongue and mouth. Mammals like cats, dogs and pigs, rely on panting or other means for thermal regulation and have sweat glands only in foot pads and snout. The sweat produced on pads of paws and on palms and soles mostly serves to increase friction and enhance grip. Birds also avoid overheating by gular fluttering
, flapping the wings near the gular (throat) skin, similar to panting in mammals, since their thin skin has no sweat glands. Down feathers trap warm air acting as excellent insulators just as hair in mammals acts as a good insulator. Mammalian skin is much thicker than that of birds and often has a continuous layer of insulating fat beneath the dermis. In marine mammals, such as whales, or animals which live in very cold regions, such as the polar bears, this is called blubber. Dense coats found in desert endotherms also aid in preventing heat gain such as in the case of the camels.
A cold weather strategy is to temporarily decrease metabolic rate, decreasing the temperature difference between the animal and the air and thereby minimizing heat loss. Furthermore, having a lower metabolic rate is less energetically expensive. Many animals survive cold frosty nights through torpor, a short-term temporary drop in body temperature. Organisms when presented with the problem of regulating body temperature have not only behavioural, physiological and structural adaptations, but also a feedback system to trigger these adaptations to regulate temperature accordingly. The main features of this system are stimulus, receptor, modulator, effector
and then the feedback of the newly adjusted temperature to the stimulus.
This cyclical process aids in homeostasis.
Homeothermy and poikilothermy refer to how stable an organism's temperature is. Most endothermic organisms are homeothermic, like mammals. However, animals with facultative endothermy are often poikilothermic, meaning their temperature can vary considerably. Similarly, most fish are ectotherms, as all of their heat comes from the surrounding water. However, most are homeotherms because their temperature is very stable.
By numerous observations upon humans and other animals, John Hunter showed that the essential difference between the so-called warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals lies in observed constancy of the temperature of the former, and the observed variability of the temperature of the latter. Almost all birds and mammals have a high temperature almost constant and independent of that of the surrounding air (homeothermy). Almost all other animals display a variation of body temperature, dependent on their surroundings (poikilothermy).
Certain mammals are exceptions to this rule, being warm-blooded during the summer or daytime, but cold-blooded during the winter when they hibernate or at night during sleep. J. O. Wakelin Barratt has demonstrated that under certain pathological conditions, a warm-blooded (homeothermic) animal may become temporarily cold-blooded (poikilothermic). He has shown conclusively that this condition exists in rabbits suffering from rabies during the last period of their life, the rectal temperature being then within a few degrees of the room temperature and varying with it. He explains this condition by the assumption that the nervous mechanism of heat regulation has become paralysed. The respiration and heart-rate being also retarded during this period, the resemblance to the condition of hibernation is considerable. Again, Sutherland Simpson has shown that during deep anaesthesia a warm-blooded animal tends to take the same temperature as that of its environment. He demonstrated that when a monkey is kept deeply anaesthetized with ether and is placed in a cold chamber, its temperature gradually falls, and that when it has reached a sufficiently low point (about 25 °C in the monkey), the employment of an anaesthetic is no longer necessary, the animal then being insensible to pain and incapable of being roused by any form of stimulus; it is, in fact, narcotised by cold, and is in a state of what may be called "artificial hibernation." Once again this is explained by the fact that the heat-regulating mechanism has been interfered with. Similar results have been obtained from experiments on cats.
Thermoregulation in both ectotherms and endotherms is controlled mainly by the preoptic area of the anterior hypothalamus. Such homeostatic control is separate from the sensation of temperature.
In cold environments, birds and mammals employ the following adaptations and strategies to minimize heat loss:
In warm environments, birds and mammals employ the following adaptations and strategies to maximize heat loss:
As in other mammals, thermoregulation is an important aspect of human homeostasis. Most body heat is generated in the deep organs, especially the liver, brain, and heart, and in contraction of skeletal muscles. Humans have been able to adapt to a great diversity of climates, including hot humid and hot arid. High temperatures pose serious stresses for the human body, placing it in great danger of injury or even death. For humans, adaptation to varying climatic conditions includes both physiological mechanisms resulting from evolution and behavioural mechanisms resulting from conscious cultural adaptations.
There are four avenues of heat loss: convection, conduction, radiation, and evaporation. If skin temperature is greater than that of the surroundings, the body can lose heat by radiation and conduction. But if the temperature of the surroundings is greater than that of the skin, the body actually gains
heat by radiation and conduction. In such conditions, the only means by which the body can rid itself of heat is by evaporation. So when the surrounding temperature is higher than the skin temperature, anything that prevents adequate evaporation will cause the internal body temperature to rise. During sports activities, evaporation becomes the main avenue of heat loss. Humidity affects thermoregulation by limiting sweat evaporation and thus heat loss.
The skin assists in homeostasis (keeping different aspects of the body constant e.g. temperature). It does this by reacting differently to hot and cold conditions so that the inner body temperature remains more or less constant. Vasodilation and sweating are the primary modes by which humans attempt to lose excess body heat. The brain creates much heat through the countless reactions which occur. Even the process of thought creates heat. The head has a complex system of blood vessels, which keeps the brain from overheating by bringing blood to the thin skin on the head, allowing heat to escape. The effectiveness of these methods is influenced by the character of the climate and the degree to which the individual is acclimatized.
Most animals can't sweat efficiently. Cats and dogs have sweat glands only on the pads of their feet. Horses and humans are two of the few animals capable of sweating. Many animals pant rather than sweat because the lungs have a large surface area and are highly vascularised. Air is inhaled, cooling the surface of the lungs and is then exhaled losing heat and some water vapour.
In general, humans appear physiologically well adapted to hot dry conditions. However, effective thermoregulation is reduced in hot, humid environments such as the Red Sea and Persian Gulf (where moderately hot summer temperatures are accompanied by unusually high vapor pressures), tropical environments, and deep mines where the atmosphere can be water-saturated. In hot-humid conditions, clothing can impede efficient evaporation. In such environments, it helps to wear light clothing such as cotton, that is pervious to sweat but impervious to radiant heat from the sun. This minimizes the gaining of radiant heat, while allowing as much evaporation to occur as the environment will allow. Clothing such as plastic fabrics that are impermeable to sweat and thus do not facilitate heat loss through evaporation can actually contribute to heat stress.
The process explained above, in which the skin regulates body temperature is a part of thermoregulation. This is one aspect of homeostasis-the process by which the body regulates itself to keep internal conditions constant.
A human will output from around 70 watts to 870 watts, depending on the amount of physical activity undertaken.
Thermogenesis occurs in the flowers of many plants in the Araceae family as well as in cycad cones. In addition, the Sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera
) is able to thermoregulate itself, remaining on average 20 °C (36 °F) above air temperature while flowering. Heat is produced by breaking down the starch that was stored in their roots, which requires the consumption of oxygen at a rate approaching that of a flying hummingbird.
One possible explanation for plant thermoregulation is to provide protection against cold temperature. For example, the skunk cabbage is not frost-resistant, yet it begins to grow and flower when there is still snow on the ground. Another theory is that thermogenicity helps attract pollinators, which is borne out by observations that heat production is accompanied by the arrival of beetles or flies.
Animals other than humans regulate and maintain their body temperature with physiological adjustments and behavior. Desert lizards are ectotherms and so unable to metabolically control their temperature but can do this by altering their location. They may do this by in the morning only raising their head from its burrow and then exposing their entire body. By basking in the sun, the lizard absorbs solar heat. It may also absorb heat by conduction from heated rocks that have stored radiant solar energy. To lower their temperature, lizards exhibit varied behaviors. Sand seas, or ergs, produce up to 136 F (57.7C) and the sand lizard will hold its feet up in the air to cool down, seek cooler objects with which to contact, find shade or return to their burrow. They also go to their burrows to avoid cooling when the sun goes down or the temperature falls.
Animals also engage in kleptothermy in which they share or even steal each other's body warmth. In endotherms such as bats and birds (such as the mousebird and emperor penguin) it allows the sharing of body heat (particularly amongst juveniles). This allows the individuals to increase their thermal inertia (as with gigantothermy) and so reduce heat loss. Some ectotherms share burrows of ectotherms. Other animals exploit termite mounds.
Some animals living in cold environments maintain their body temperature by preventing heat loss. Their fur grows more densely to increase the amount of insulation. Some animals are regionally heterothermic and are able to allow their less insulated extremities to cool to temperatures much lower than their core temperature—nearly to 0 °C. This minimizes heat loss through less insulated body parts, like the legs, feet (or hooves), and nose.
To cope with limited food resources and low temperatures, some mammals hibernate in underground burrows. In order to remain in "stasis" for long periods, these animals must build up brown fat reserves and be capable of slowing all body functions. True hibernators (e.g. groundhogs) keep their body temperature down throughout their hibernation while the core temperature of false hibernators (e.g. bears) varies with them sometimes emerging from their dens for brief periods. Some bats are true hibernators which rely upon a rapid, non-shivering thermogenesis of their brown fat deposit to bring them out of hibernation.
Estivation occurs in summer (like siestas) and allows some mammals to survive periods of high temperature and little water (e.g. turtles burrow in pond mud).
Daily torpor occurs in small endotherms like bats and humming birds which temporarily reduce their high metabolic rates to conserve energy.
Previously, average oral temperature for healthy adults had been considered , while normal ranges are to . In Poland and Russia, the temperature had been measured axillary. 36.6 °C was considered "ideal" temperature in these countries, while normal ranges are 36 °C to 36.9 °C.
Recent studies suggest that the average temperature for healthy adults is 98.2 °F or 36.8 °C (same result in three different studies). Variations (one standard deviation) from three other studies are:
Temperature varies according to thermometer placement, with rectal temperature being 0.3-0.6 °C (0.5-1 °F) higher than oral temperature, while axillary temperature is 0.3-0.6 °C (0.5-1 °F) lower than oral temperature. The average difference between oral and axillary temperatures of Indian children aged 6–12 was found to be only 0.1 °C (standard deviation 0.2 °C), and the mean difference in Maltese children aged 4–14 between oral and axillary temperature was 0.56 °C, while the mean difference between rectal and axillary temperature for children under 4 years old was 0.38 °C.
Of the lower warm-blooded animals, there are some that appear to be cold-blooded at birth. Kittens, rabbits and puppies, if removed from their surroundings shortly after birth, lose their body heat until their temperature has fallen to within a few degrees of that of the surrounding air. But such animals are at birth blind, helpless and in some cases furless. Animals who are born when in a condition of greater development can maintain a fairly constant body temperature. In strong, healthy human infants a day or two old the temperature rises slightly when removed, but in that of weakly, ill-developed children it either remains stationary or falls. The cause of the variable temperature in infants and young immature animals is the imperfect development of the nervous regulating mechanism.
The average temperature falls slightly from infancy to puberty and again from puberty to middle age, but after that stage is passed the temperature begins to rise again, and by about the eightieth year is as high as in infancy.
In humans, a diurnal variation has been observed dependent on the periods of rest and activity, lowest at 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and peaking at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monkeys also have a well-marked and regular diurnal variation of body temperature which follows periods of rest and activity, and is not dependent on the incidence of day and night; nocturnal monkeys reach their highest body temperature at night and lowest during the day. Sutherland Simpson and J.J. Galbraith observed that all nocturnal animals and birds - whose periods of rest and activity are naturally reversed through habit and not from outside interference - experience their highest temperature during the natural period of activity (night) and lowest during the period of rest (day). Those diurnal temperatures can be reversed by reversing their daily routine.
The temperature curve of diurnal birds is essentially similar to that of man and other homoeothermal animals, except that the maximum occurs earlier in the afternoon and the minimum earlier in the morning. Also that the curves obtained from rabbits, guinea pigs and dogs were quite similar to those from man. These observations indicate that body temperature is partially regulated by circadian rhythms.
During the follicular phase (which lasts from the first day of menstruation until the day of ovulation), the average basal body temperature in women ranges from 36.45 to 36.7 °C (97.6 to 98.1 °F). Within 24 hours of ovulation, women experience an elevation of 0.15 - 0.45 °C (0.2 - 0.9 °F) due to the increased metabolic rate caused by sharply elevated levels of progesterone. The basal body temperature ranges between 36.7 - 37.3°C (98.1 - 99.2°F) throughout the luteal phase, and drops down to pre-ovulatory levels within a few days of menstruation. Women can chart this phenomenon to determine whether and when they are ovulating, so as to aid conception or contraception.
Fever is a regulated elevation of the set point of core temperature in the hypothalamus, caused by circulating pyrogens produced by the immune system. To the subject, a rise in core temperature due to fever may result in feeling cold in an environment where people without fever do not.
A group of monks known as the Tummo are known to practice biofeedback meditation techniques that allow them to raise their body temperatures substantially.
In Simpson's & Galbraith's work, the mean temperature of the female was higher than that of the male in all the species examined whose sex had been determined.
Meals sometimes cause a slight elevation, sometimes a slight depression—alcohol seems always to produce a fall. Exercise and variations of external temperature within ordinary limits cause very slight change, as there are many compensating influences at work, which are discussed later. The core temperature of those living in the tropics is within a similar range to those dwelling in the Arctic regions.
It was long theorised that low body temperature may prolong life. On November 2006, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute reported that transgenic mice which had body temperature 0.3-0.5 C lower than normal mice (due to overexpressing the uncoupling protein 2 in hypocretin neurons (Hcrt-UCP2), which elevated hypothalamic temperature, thus forcing the hypothalamus to lower body temperature) indeed lived longer than normal mice. The lifespan was 12% longer for males and 20% longer for females. Mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The effects of such a genetic change in body temperature on longevity is harder to study in humans. The UCP2 genetic alleles seen in humans so far are associated with obesity
There are limits both of heat and cold that an endothermic animal can bear and other far wider limits that an ectothermic animal may endure and yet live. The effect of too extreme a cold is to decrease metabolism, and hence to lessen the production of heat. Both catabolic and anabolic pathways share in this metabolic depression, and, though less energy is used up, still less energy is generated. The effects of this diminished metabolism become telling on the central nervous system first, especially the brain and those parts concerning consciousness; both heart rate and respiration rate decrease; judgment becomes impaired as drowsiness supervenes, becoming steadily deeper until the individual loses consciousness; without medical intervention, death by hypothermia quickly follows. Occasionally, however, convulsions may set in towards the end, and death is caused by asphyxia.
In experiments on cats performed by Sutherland Simpson and Percy T. Herring, the animals were unable to survive when rectal temperature fell below 16°C. At this low temperature respiration became increasingly feeble; heart-impulse usually continued after respiration had ceased, the beats becoming very irregular, apparently ceasing, then beginning again. Death appeared to be mainly due to asphyxia, and the only certain sign that it had taken place was the loss of knee jerks.
Conversely, too high a temperature speeds up the metabolism of different tissues to such a rate that their metabolic capital is soon exhausted. Blood that is too warm produces dyspnea by exhausting the metabolic capital of the respiratory centre;]
[ heart rate is increased; the beats then become arrhythmic and eventually cease. The central nervous system is also profoundly affected by hyperthermia and delirium and convulsions may set in. Consciousness may also be lost, propelling the person into a comatose condition. These changes can sometimes also be observed in patients suffering from an acute fever.]
[ The lower limit of temperature that humans can endure depends on many factors, but no one can survive a temperature of or above for very long.]
[ Mammalian muscle becomes rigid with heat rigor at about 50°C, with the sudden rigidity of the whole body rendering life impossible.
H.M. Vernon has done work on the death temperature and paralysis temperature (temperature of heat rigor) of various animals. He found that species of the same class showed very similar temperature values, those from the Amphibia examined being 38.5°C, Fish 39°C, Reptilia 45°C, and various Molluscs 46°C.]
[ Also, in the case of pelagic animals, he showed a relation between death temperature and the quantity of solid constituents of the body. In higher animals, however, his experiments tend to show that there is greater variation in both the chemical and physical characteristics of the protoplasm and hence greater variation in the extreme temperature compatible with life.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain:
The International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90) is an equipment calibration standard for making measurements on the Kelvin and Celsius temperature scales. ITS–90 is an approximation of the thermodynamic temperature scale that facilitates the comparability and compatibility of temperature measurements internationally. ITS–90 offers defined calibration points ranging from 0.65 K to approximately 1358 K (−272.5 °C to 1085 °C) and is subdivided into multiple temperature ranges which overlap in some instances.
ITS-90 is designed to represent the thermodynamic (absolute) temperature scale (referencing absolute zero) as closely as possible throughout its range. Many different thermometer designs are required to cover the entire range. These include helium vapor pressure thermometers, helium gas thermometers, standard platinum resistance thermometers (known as SPRTs, PRTs or Platium RTDs) and monochromatic radiation thermometers.
Although the Kelvin and Celsius scales are defined using absolute zero (0 K) and the triple point of water (273.16 K and 0.01 °C), it is impractical to use this definition at temperatures that are very different from the triple point of water. Accordingly, ITS–90 uses numerous defined points, all of which are based on various thermodynamic equilibrium states of fourteen pure chemical elements and one compound (water). Most of the defined points are based on a phase transition; specifically the melting/freezing point of a pure chemical element. However, the deepest cryogenic points are based exclusively on the vapor pressure/temperature relationship of helium and its isotopes whereas the remainder of its cold points (those less than room temperature) are based on triple points. Examples of other defining points are the triple point of hydrogen (−259.3467 °C) and the freezing point of aluminum (660.323 °C).
Thermometers calibrated per ITS–90 use complex mathematical formulas to interpolate between its defined points. ITS–90 specifies rigorous control over variables to ensure reproducibility from lab to lab. For instance, the small effect that atmospheric pressure has upon the various melting points is compensated for (an effect that typically amounts to no more than half a millikelvin across the different altitudes and barometric pressures likely to be encountered). The standard even compensates for the pressure effect due to how deeply the temperature probe is immersed into the sample. ITS–90 also draws a distinction between “freezing” and “melting” points. The distinction depends on whether heat is going into (melting) or out of (freezing) the sample when the measurement is made. Only gallium is measured while melting, all the other metals are measured while the samples are freezing.
A practical effect of ITS–90 is the triple points and the freezing/melting points of its thirteen chemical elements are precisely known for all temperature measurements calibrated per ITS–90 since these thirteen values are fixed by its definition. Only the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW) is known with absolute precision—regardless of the calibration standard employed—because the very definitions of both the Kelvin and Celsius scales are fixed by international agreement based, in part, on this point.
There are often small differences between measurements calibrated per ITS–90 and thermodynamic temperature. For instance, precise measurements show that the boiling point of VSMOW water under one standard atmosphere of pressure is actually 373.1339 K (99.9839 °C) when adhering strictly to the two-point definition of thermodynamic temperature. When calibrated to ITS–90, where one must interpolate between the defining points of gallium and indium, the boiling point of VSMOW water is about 10 mK less, about 99.974 °C. The virtue of ITS–90 is that another lab in another part of the world will measure the very same temperature with ease due to the advantages of a comprehensive international calibration standard featuring many conveniently spaced, reproducible, defining points spanning a wide range of temperatures.
Although “International Temperature Scale of 1990” has the word “scale” in its title, this is a misnomer that can be misleading. ITS–90 is not a scale; it is an equipment calibration standard. Temperatures measured with equipment calibrated per ITS–90 may be expressed using any temperature scale such as Celsius, Kelvin, Fahrenheit, or Rankine. For example, a temperature can be measured using equipment calibrated to the kelvin-based ITS–90 standard, and that value may then be converted to, and expressed as, a value on the Fahrenheit scale (e.g. 211.953 °F).
ITS–90 does not address the highly specialized equipment and procedures used for measuring temperatures extremely close to absolute zero. For instance, to measure temperatures in the nanokelvin range (billionths of a kelvin), scientists using optical lattice laser equipment to adiabatically cool atoms, turn off the entrapment lasers and simply measure how far the atoms drift over time to measure their temperature. A cesium atom with a velocity of 7 mm per second is equivalent to temperature of about 700 nK (which was a record cold temperature achieved by the NIST in 1994).
Between 0.65 K and 5.0 K ITS-90 is defined by the vapor-pressure temperature relationship of 3He and 4He.
Between 3.0 K and 24.5561 K (triple point of neon) ITS-90 is defined by means of a helium gas thermometer calibrated at three fixed points in this range.
Between 13.8033 K (triple point of equilibrium hydrogen) and 1234.93 K (freezing point of silver) ITS-90 is defined by means of a Standard Platinum resistance thermometer (RTD) calibrated at the defining fixed points and using specified interpolation procedures.
Above 1234.93 K (freezing point of silver) ITS-90 is defined in terms of a defining fixed point and the Planck radiation law.
The table below lists the defining fixed points of ITS-90.
relation of helium-3 (by equation)
relation of helium-4 below its
lambda point (by equation)
relation of helium-4 above its
lambda point (by equation)
relation of helium (by equation)
1 The triple point of water is frequently approximated by the using the melting point of water at Standard conditions for temperature and pressure
2 Melting and freezing points are distinguished by whether heat is entering or leaving the sample when its temperature is measured. See melting point for more information.
Human body temperature