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Laboratory for General Physics I Fall 2016

Website: http://teaching.phys.ust.hk/general_phys_one_lab/
Instructor: Dr. Yumian Su
Email: yumiansu@ust.hk
Office hour: by appointment

Instructional/Teaching Assistants:
IA/TA
LIU Man Fai Jerry (IA)

Session(s) in
charge
LA2, LA4,
LA5, LA7

(Office hour: Thursday, 10 11 am)


Office

Telephone

Email

Rm 4469

2358-7528

phymfliu@ust.hk

LI Jing (TA)

LA3

Rm 6130

2358-7496

jlicj@connect.ust.hk

He Chengdong (TA)

LA1

Rm 4138

2358-7509

cheab@connect.us.hk

Qin Xianan (TA)

LA6

Rm 6130

2358-7496

xqin@ust.hk

Tutorials: Monday, T1 (9:30 10:20 am, 2502), T2 (10:30 11:20 am, 2407)

List of Labs
M1
M2
M3
M4
M5
M6
M7
M8
M9
H1

The Atwood Machine


Projectile Motion
Centripetal Force
Work, Energy and Friction
Conservation of Linear Momentum
Rotational Motion
Conservation of Angular Momentum
Simple Harmonic Motion
Standing Waves on a Vibrating String
Specific Heat and Latent Heat of Vaporization

Lab Schedule
See course website
http://teaching.phys.ust.hk/general_phys_one_lab/lab_schedule.htm

Week
1
2

Dates
5 Sept (Tutorial)
5 - 8 Sept (Lab)
12 Sept (Tutorial)
12 - 15 Sept (Lab)

Tutorial (special topics)

Lab

Syllabus, Scientific graphing & data analysis

Lab orientation, safety

Data Analysis: Statistics

M1

19 - 22 Sept (Lab)

M2

4
5
6

26 - 29 Sept (Lab)
3 - 6 Oct (Lab)
10 - 13 Oct (Lab)

M3
M4
No Lab

17 Oct (Tutorial)
17 - 20 Oct (Lab)

Error Propagation (M5)

M5

24 - 27 Oct (Lab)

M6

9
10

31 Oct - 3 Nov (Lab)


7 - 10 Nov (Lab)

M7
M8

14 Nov (Tutorial)
14 - 17 Nov (Lab)

Dimensional Analysis and Course summary

M9

12

21 - 24 Nov (Lab)

H1 and class photo

13

28 - 30 Nov (Lab)

Make-up period

Lab reports consist of


(A) Pre-lab questions ( to be answered before coming to the lab, and handed in
at the start of lab session)
(B) Results and data analysis ( to be completed in lab, and signed by TA/IA)
(C) Post-lab questions ( to be completed after lab)

At the start of the lab


(1) Sign the attendance sheet
(2) Hand in pre-lab questions
(3) Submit last weeks lab report.
(4) Return graded lab report (the week before last).

Course Requirements
Lab work will be conducted in pairs, partners will be changed every two weeks.

You are required to attend all tutorials and lab sessions.


Assessment Scheme
Lab Performance:

30%

Lab Report:

70%

Dropping of the lowest lab score:


If you complete 10 experiments, best 9 scores will be used to calculate final grade.
If you miss one or more experiments without make-up, all 10 experiment scores will be counted
including zeros from missing labs.

Experimental Data
and Uncertainty Analysis
1. Introduction to experimentation and data handling
2. Statistics for analysis of experimental data
3. Error propagation

Part 1

Introduction to experimentation and data handling

Introduction to experimentation
Stages of a typical experiment

The aim: Answer a definite question.


e.g. How does acceleration depend on net force?
The plan: Which quantities to measure, how to measure.

Preparation: set up experiment, calibrate the equipment


Collecting data: be alert, pay attention to details, think about the
physics behind

Data analysis: processing data and estimate error


Reporting the experiment: aim, method, data analysis and conclusion.

Characteristics of experimental data


Units of measurement
Without a unit, a measured quantity is meaningless. There is a huge difference
between 1 cm and 1 km!
Errors
A measured value is always recorded along with its error. E.g. 6.12 0.02 (m),
this implies that the actual value probably lies between 6.10 m and 6.14 m.
Significant figures (sig.fig.)
The precision of a value is implied by how many sig. fig. the value is written.
E.g. 6.12 which has three sig. fig. implies the error is at the order ~0.01; while
the value 6.120 implies the error is at the order ~0.001.

More about errors (uncertainties)


Uncertainties (errors of measurement, more commonly experimental
errors): deviations from the true values
Unavoidable, cannot be completely eliminated
Can be estimated
Can be quantified using basic statistics

A result is of little use without knowing its error.

Rules of uncertainty

Rules of uncertainty
Rule 1: Analog Take of the smallest unit for each measurement.

Two measurements: head and tail


Length = head tail
= 1 smallest unit
e.g. error = 1 mm

zero position is fixed


one measurement only
1
2

= smallest unit
e.g. error = 0.5 mm

Rules of uncertainty
Rule 2: Digital take the smallest digit
if not specified by the instrument.
e.g. Multi-meter
= 1.0000V
= 0.0001V
Rule 3: Fluctuating
take of the fluctuating range .
All we have said is a common way to estimate
error. But you could take a slightly larger error if
you thought you could not read the value well.

Rules of uncertainty
Rule 5:
Keep up to 1 sig. fig. for uncertainty. (Some keep 2 sig. fig. if the 1st
digit is 1. But we keep only 1 sig. fig. for simplicity.)
Rule 6:
Keep the result at the same decimal place as the uncertainty.

Rule 4: Statistical Error Discuss in future tutorial

Example: how to write measured values?


Rounding: it is a good practice not to round numbers before reaching the final result.
Measured value = 23.23192734
Uncertainty (error) = 0.003223

Rules of writing a value with error:


Step 1: Round the error to 1 sig. fig.
e.g. 0.003223 0.003
Step 2: Round the measured value to the same decimal place as the rounded error
e.g. 23.23192734 23.232
Step 3: write (value) (error) with a unit
e.g. 23.232 0.003 (second)

Graphical presentation of data


Effective presentation of data
Easily reveal relationships and anomalies
A graph can indicate:
Range of measurements,
Uncertainty in each measurement (for raw data only for this course),
Existence or absence of a trend,
Black Swan Data points: Do not follow the general trend
x-y graphs (Cartesian coordinate graphs) are used extensively to present
experimental data.

A useful experimental graph includes:


A title indicating the relationship being investigated

A caption if a title is not enough


Axes labels (names of the variables and the units)
Legend if there are multiple sets of data.

Figure 1. Distance vs time of car (blue stars) and train (green dots).

Good practices of graph plotting

The point (0,0) does not


have to appear.

Choose a suitable
display ranges or scales
for x-axis and y-axis
This can show more
clearly the relationship
between y and x.

How many data points are needed?


Need to see the trend and to do the fitting
The critical region needs more data points

V (m3)

V (m3)

T[C]

T[C]

Best fit line

A linear x - y graph
It is reasonable to assume
that the relationship
between x and y in the
graph to be linear.
Even though the data points
do not lie exactly along a
straight line.
This is likely due to the
experimental uncertainties.
Two important constants can be deduced from a straight
line through the points: the slope and intercept

Best fit and error


Best fit is the line/curve that minimizes the total distance between
the data and the line.
For linear fit y = +
The value of m and c are chosen
to minimize the distance
between the line and {}.

Distance from
the line to a
typical data
point

For making best fit in Excel:


Excel Tutorial on the course website

http://teaching.phys.ust.hk/general_phys_one_lab/supplementary.htm

How to find slope, intercept, and their errors in Excel


Click on an empty cell and type in:
=index(linest(B2:B6,A2:A6,true,true),1,1)

B2:B6 is the range of y data


A2:A6 is the range of x data
1, 1 = slope (m)
1, 2 = c

2, 1 = m
2, 2 = c

Error bars
Speed vs time for mass A
14

The uncertainty
in the x-axis

The uncertainty
in the y-axis

0.8 m/s

10

Speed (m/s)

0.3 s

12

8
6
4
2
0
0

4
Time (s)

Example:

Distance as a function of time

Two sets of data,


fitted to linear equation
= +

25

Runner A

How good the data fit to a


straight line is indicated by
2 ,

Distance (m)

20

Runner B

y = 2x
R = 1

15

10

y=x
R = 1

0 < 2 < 1
0


=
2

2
2

Time (s)

10

12

Drawing a conclusion
Two values agree if the ranges overlap
1 1

Agree as 1 2 < 1 + 2

Do not agree as 1 2 > 1 + 2

1 1

2 2

2 2

Percent Error:
Compare experimental value with
theoretical or accepted value (considered correct value).
accepted exprimental
% error =
100
accepted

Percent Difference:
Compare two experimental values (neither can be considered correct value)
value1 value2
% difference =
100
(value1 + value2)/2

General guideline for finding the errors:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Find the minimum reading


Find the maximum reading
Then find the middle value = + ( )/2
The uncertainty is = ( )/2
Final reading is

Examples
Protractor: reading lies between 0-1 degree
0.5 0.5 degree.
Meter ruler: reading is between 11.5 to 12.5 mm
12.0 0.5 mm

Significant figures
carry an implied precision of 0.5 unit in the rightmost significant digit (for mathematicians)
Value
6

No of significant figures
1

Meaning
between 5.5 to 6.5

6.0
0.6

2
1

between 5.95 to 6.05


between 0.55 to 0.65

0.60
0.06
600

2
1
Could be 1, 2, or 3

between 0.595 to 0.605


between 0.055 to 0.065
?

Use scientific notation to avoid the ambiguity.


For example, 6 102 , 6.0 102 , or 6.00 102

To an experimental scientist, most numbers are read off a meter.

For example, 21, could mean 21.0 0.5, 21 1, or 21 5, depending on


the precision of the meter.

Uncertainty propagates in calculations


For addition and subtraction, the result cannot have more decimal
places than the least accurate number.
23.4167 + 2.001 + 1.2 = 26.6
For multiplication and division, the result cannot have more significant
figures than the least accurate number.
65.7891 1.123
= 2.37
31.2

What is required in lab report?


Uncertainty of raw data must be recorded.
Propagated uncertainty is required only if it is asked explicitly.

In graphs, error bars of raw data must be included.


For linear fit, display equation and 2 on graph.
Uncertainties of slope and intercept are required only if asked explicitly.

In the best measurements in the world, the uncertainties are kept to


2 significant figures:
Electron charge magnitude:
e = 1.602176565 0.000000035 1019 C
Electron mass:
= (9.10938291 0.00000040) 1031 kg
Fine structure constant:
= (7.297355698 0.000000024) 103
For our lab work, keep uncertainty to 1 sig. fig. only!

End of part I