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Apr 13, 2017

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OF ERRORS

IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING THE ERRORS

Density of crown

= 15.5 gm/cm3 (Gold)

= 13.8 gm/cm3 (alloy)

A Believe B

Conclusion Crown is made of alloy not gold

Experimenter B 13.9 13.7-14.1 13.9 0.2

ERROR (UNCERTAINTY)

(BIAS) (PRECISION)

http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Uncertainty/basic.html

Best estimate of length = 36 mm

Probable range = 35.5 to 36.5 mm

Probable range = 5.2 to 5.4 Volts

Actual measured = Bias this is easily removed by calibration

system to observe the output

CALIBRATION

All inputs except one kept at some constant value

Input under study varied over some range

Output under study varies over some other range of constant values

Calibration standard should be atleast 10 times as accurate as the

instrument being calibrated

Accuracy Combination of bias + precision

PRECISION

Ability of the system to indicate a particular value upon repeated

but independent applications of a specific value of input

Measure of random variation to be expected during repeatability

trials

102 0C

Temperature

100 0C

98 0C

I II III IV

II PRECISE + BIAS : INACCURATE

III IMPRECISE + BIAS : INACCURATE

IV IMPRECISE + NO BIAS : ACCURATE

the bias, we must have additional information about the true value.

High precision;Low accuracy

PICTORIAL DEPICTION OF BIAS AND PRECISION

Scatter

Measured value Bias

True value (standard)

o The bias in the measuring process is the difference between the mean

measurement and the true value:

Bias = True value

o The smaller the bias, the more accurate the measuring process.

o The smaller the uncertainty, the more precise the measuring process.

Let X1, . . . , Xn be independent measurements, all made by the same

process on the same quantity.

uncertainty.

Estimates of uncertainty are often crude, especially when based on

small samples.

If the true value is known, the sample mean X can be used to

estimate the bias:

Bias X - True value

If the true value is unknown, the bias cannot be estimated from

repeated measurements.

From here on we will assume, unless otherwise stated, that bias has

been reduced to a negligible level. We will describe measurements in

the form

Measured value

A laboratory sample of gas is known to have a carbon monoxide (CO) concentration

of 50 parts per million (ppm). A spectrophotometer is used to take five independent

measurements of this concentration. The five measurements, in ppm, are 51, 47, 53,

53, and 48. Estimate the bias and the uncertainty in a spectrophotometer

measurement.

Five measurements - Random sample from the population of possible

measurements.

True value = 50 ppm

The mean of the five measurements = 50.4 ppm

Bias = 50.4 50 = 0.4 ppm

The standard deviation of the five measurements = 2.8 ppm

Uncertainty in each measurement = 2.8 ppm

A different spectrophotometer is now used to measure theCO concentration in

another gas sample. The true concentration in this sample is unknown. Five

measurements are made (in ppm). They are 62, 63, 61, 62, and 59. Estimate the

uncertainty in a measurement from this spectrophotometer. Can we estimate the

bias?

Uncertainty in a single measurement = Sample standard deviation = 1.5 ppm

The sample mean = 61.4 ppm,

Since we do not know the true concentration, we cannot estimate the bias.

61.4 1.5 ppm

IILUSTRATION OF IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

Why are experiments necessary?

principles and processes, but once these demonstrations are made and their lessons

taken to heart, why bother with experiments?

With the laws of physics we know, with the sophisticated analytical solution

methods we study, with the increasing knowledge of numerical solution techniques,

and with the awesome computing power available, is there any longer a need for

experimentation in the real world?

The scientific method is the systematic attempt to construct theories that correlate

wide groups of observed facts and are capable of predicting the results of future

observations. Such theories are tested by controlled experimentation and are

accepted only so long as they are consistent with all observed facts.

MEASUREMENT OF BENDING OF

ANALYTICAL APPROACH TO A LIGHT AS IT PASSES THROUGH THE

SOLUTION OF A PROBLEM SUN

Einsteen Theory of relativity (1916)

Predicted that a light from a start

would be bent through an angle of

1.8 (seconds) as it passes through

the sun

a bending angle of 0.9

Davidson measured the bending of

light by the sun during solar eclipse.

= 2 0.3

accepted.

Comparison of model results with Comparison of model results with

experimental data without experimental data with consideration of

with consideration of uncertainty in Y uncertainty in Y

comparisons can be made

TYPES OF INSTRUMENT ERRORS

SEQUENTIAL TEST: A sequential test applies a sequential variation in the input

value over the desired input range. This may be accomplished by increasing the input

value (upscale direction) or by decreasing the input value (downscale direction) over

the full input range.

identifying and quantifying hysteresis error in a measurement system. Hysteresis

error refers to differences between an upscale sequential test and a downscale

sequential test. The hysteresis error of the system is estimated by its uncertainty

uh = yupscale ydownscale .

y

ydownscale max

U hmax 100

upscale

Range

LINEARITY ERROR :

y x y L x max

U hmax 100

Range

SENSITIVITY ERROR : The sensitivity error is a statistical measure of

the random error in the estimate of the slope of the calibration curve.

Ex: Temperature dependency

ZERO ERROR : If the zero intercept is not fixed but the sensitivity is

constant, then a drift in the zero intercept introduces a vertical shift of

the calibration curve. This shift is known as the zero error with

uncertainty, uz

Instrument Repeatability: The ability of a measurement system to

indicate the same value on repeated but independent application of

the same input provides a measure of the instrument repeatability.

Specific claims of repeatability are based on multiple calibration tests

(replication) performed within a given lab on the particular unit

2s x

U R max 100

Range

Overall Instrument Error and Instrument Uncertainty:

An estimate of the overall instrument error is made by combining the

estimates of all known errors into a term called the instrument

uncertainty.

The estimate is computed from the square root of the sum of the

squares of all known uncertainty values.

For M known errors, the overall instrument uncertainty, uc, is

estimated by

uc u u ........u

2

1

2

2

2

M

Linear Combinations of Measurements

cX c X

If X1, . . . , Xn are independent measurements and c1, . . . , cn are

constants, then

2

c1 X 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... cn X n c 2

1

2

X1 c

2

2

2

X2 .... c

2

n

2

Xn

c X1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 .... cn2 X2 n

The radius of a circle is measured to be 3.0 0.1 cm. Estimate the circumference and

find the uncertainty in the estimate

R 3 cm

C 2 R

cX c X

C 2 R 2 0.1 cm 0.63 cm

The Circumfere nce is 18.85 0.63 cm

An item is formed by placing two components end to end. The lengths of the

components are measured independently, by a process that yields a random

measurement with uncertainty 0.1 cm. The length of the item is estimated by adding

the two measured lengths. Assume that the measurements are 4.10 cm and 3.70 cm.

Estimate the length of the item and find the uncertainty in the estimate.

c X1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 .... cn2 X2 n

X 1 X2

X2 1 X2 2 0.12 0.12 0.14 cm

The estimated length 4.1 3.7 7.8 0.14 cm

A surveyor is measuring the perimeter of a rectangular lot. He measures two

adjacent sides to be 50.11 0.05 m and 75.21 0.08 m. These measurements are

independent. Estimate the perimeter of the lot and find the uncertainty in the

estimate.

X 50.11

Y 75.21

P 2 X 2Y 250.11 275.21 250.64

c X

1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c2

1

2

X1 c 2

2

2

X2 .... c

2

n

2

Xn

2

X

2

Y

2 2

The surveyors assistant suggests computing the uncertainty in P by a different

method. He reasons that since P = X + X + Y + Y , then

c X1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 .... cn2 X2 n

P X X Y Y X2 X2 Y2 Y2

0.052 0.052 0.052 0.052 0.13 m

This disagrees with the value of 0.19 m calculated in previous example.

The four terms in the sum for P are not all independent.

Specifically, X + X is not the sum of independent quantities; neither is Y + Y.

In order to use the standard equation to compute the uncertainty in P, we must

express P as the sum of independent quantities, that is, P = 2X + 2Y

REPEATED MEASUREMENTS

uncertainty , then the sample mean X is a measurement with mean

X

and with uncertainty

X

n

The average of several repeated measurements has the same accuracy

as, and is more precise than, any single measurement.

REPEATABILITY IS NOT ACCURACY

The length of a component is to be measured by a process whose

uncertainty is 0.05 cm. If 25 independent measurements are made and

the average of these is used to estimate the length, what will the

uncertainty be? How much more precise is the average of 25

measurements than a single measurement?

X

n

0.05

X 0.01

n 25

Thus, the average of 25 independent measurements is five times more

precise than a single measurement.

The mass of a rock is measured five times on a scale whose

uncertainty is unknown. The five measurements (in grams) are 21.10,

21.05, 20.98, 21.12, and 21.05. Estimate the mass of the rock and find

the uncertainty in the estimate.

X 21.06 g

5

s

21.1 21.062 21.05 21.062 20.98 21.062 21.12 21.062 21.05 21.062 0.0543 g

51

0.0543

X X 0.02

n n 5

Two adjacent sides of a rectangular lot were measured to be X = 50.11 0.05 m and

Y = 75.21 0.08 m. Assume that the budget for this project is sufficient to allow 14

more measurements to be made. Each side has already been measured once.

One engineer suggests allocating the new measurements equally to each side, so

that each will be measured eight times.

A second engineer suggests using all 14 measurements on the longer side, since that

side is measured with greater uncertainty.

Estimate the uncertainty in the perimeter under each plan. Which plan results in the

smaller uncertainty?

First Plan

X Average of eight measuremen ts of the shorter side

Y Average of eight measuremen ts of the longer side

Perimeter 2 X 2Y

c X

1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 .... cn2 X2 n

2 2

X Y

2 2

0.05 0.08

P 4 X 4 Y 4

2 2

4

4

4 0.067 m

8 8 8 8

Second Plan

Y Average of fifteen measuremen ts of the longer side

Perimeter 2 X 2Y

c X1 1 c2 X 2 c3 X 3 ....... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 .... cn2 X2 n

2

2

0.08

P 2 X 2Y 4 X2 4 Y2 4 X2 4 Y 40.05 4 0.11 m

2

15 15

Second Plan, p = 0.11 m

REPEATED MEASUREMENTS WITH DIFFERING UNCERTAINTIES

Repeated measurements may have differing uncertainties.

Ex: when the measurements are made with different instruments.

The best way to combine the measurements in this case is with a weighted average,

rather than with the sample mean.

Another independent measurement is made with a more precise clock, and the

result is 2.2 0.1 s. The average of these two measurements is 2.1 s. Find the

uncertainty in this quantity.

Let X represent the measurement with the less precise clock, so X = 2.0 s, with

uncertainty X = 0.2 s.

Let Y represent the measurement on the more precise clock, so Y = 2.2 s, with

uncertainty Y = 0.1 s.

The average is (1/2)X + (1/2)Y = 2.10, and the uncertainty in this average is avg

X2 Y2 0.22 0.12

avg 0.11 s

4 4 4 4

In the previous problem, another engineer suggests that since Y is a more precise

measurement than X, a weighted average in which Y is weighted more heavily than X

might be more precise than the unweighted average. Specifically, the engineer

suggests that by choosing an appropriate constant c between 0 and 1, the weighted

average cX + (1 c)Y might have a smaller uncertainty than the unweighted average

(1/2)X + (1/2)Y considered in previous example. Express the uncertainty in the

weighted average cX + (1 c)Y in terms of c, and find the value of c that minimizes

the uncertainty.

Let X represent the measurement with the less precise clock, so X = 2.0 s, with

uncertainty X = 0.2 s.

Let Y represent the measurement on the more precise clock, so Y = 2.2 s, with

uncertainty Y = 0.1 s.

We now must find the value of c minimizing . This is equivalent to finding the value

of c minimizing 2. We take the derivative of 2 = 0.05c2 0.02c + 0.01 with respect

to c and set it equal to 0:

d 2 0.02

0.1c 0.02 0 c 0.2

dc 0.1

The most precise weighted average is therefore

0.2X +0.8Y = 2.16

equal to the ratio of the variances of Y and X:

Y2 0.12 0.2 c

0.25

X2 0.22 0.8 1 c

Y2 Y2

c 2 0.2 1 c 2 0.8

X Y2

X Y2

If X and Y are independent measurements of the same quantity, with

uncertainties X and Y respectively, then the weighted average of X

and Y with the smallest uncertainty is given by

cbest X 1 cbest Y

where

Y2 X2

cbest 2 ; 1 cbest 2

X Y2

X Y2

LINEAR COMBINATIONS OF DEPENDENT MEASUREMENTS

Imagine that X and Y are measurements with uncertainties X and Y , and we wish

to compute the uncertainty in the sum X +Y.

If X and Y are dependent, the uncertainty in the sum may be

Greater than it would be in the independent case

Less than it would be in the independent case

It cannot be determined from X and Y alone.

Y Negative random errors in Y

Uncertainty in X + Y will be smaller than in the independent case.

Y positive random erros in Y

Uncertainty in X + Y will be larger than in the independent case.

The quantity that measures the relationship between the random errors in X and Y is

the covariance.

In general, if X1, . . . , Xn are measurements, and if the covariance of each pair of

measurements is known, following can be used to compute the uncertainty in a

linear combination of the measurements.

If X1, X2, . Xn are random variables and c1, c2, . cn are constants, then the

random variable

c1X1 + c2X2 +..cnXn

is called a linear combination of X1, X2, . Xn

c X

1 1 c 2 X 2 ..... c n X n

c1 X 1 c2 X 2 ....... cn X n

n 1

c c CovX , X

n

c2 X

1 1 c 2 X 2 ..... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 ....... cn2 X2 n 2 i j i j

i 1 j i 1

h x, y ax by

2

aX bY a b 2abCov X , Y

2 2

X

2 2

Y

In practice, when measurements are dependent, it is often the case that not enough

is known about the dependence to quantify it.

In these cases, an upper bound may be placed on the uncertainty in a linear

combination of the measurements.

If X1, . . . , Xn are measurements (random variables) and c1, . . . , cn are

constants, then the random variable

c1X1 + c2X2 +..cnXn

is called a linear combination of X1, X2, . Xn

c X c X

1 1 2 2 ..... cn X n

c1 X1 c2 X 2 ....... cn X n

To prove that

c X c X

1 1 2 2 ..... cn X n

c1 X1 c2 X 2 ....... cn X n

If X1, X2, . Xn are random variables and c1, c2, . cn are constants, then the

random variable

c1X1 + c2X2 +..cnXn

is called a linear combination of X1, X2, . Xn

n 1 n

c2 X

1 1 c 2 X 2 ..... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 ....... cn2 X2 n 2 c c CovX , X

i 1 j i 1

i j i j

X ,X

Cov X i , X j

i j

X X i j

Since ci c j Cov X i , X j ci c j Cov X i , X j , it follows that

ci c j Cov X i , X j ci c j X i X j

n 1 n

c2 X

1 1 c 2 X 2 ..... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 ....... cn2 X2 n 2 c c CovX , X

i 1 j i 1

i j i j

ci c j Cov X i , X j ci c j X i X j

n 1 n

c2 X 1 1 c 2 X 2 ..... c n X n

c12 X2 1 c22 X2 2 ....... cn2 X2 n 2 c

i 1 j i 1

i c j Xi X j

2

Since ci2 ci , the right hand side of inequality can be factored

n 1

2

i 1 j i 1

c X c X

1 1 2 2 ..... cn X n

c1 X1 c2 X 2 ........ cn X n

A surveyor is measuring the perimeter of a rectangular lot. He measures two

adjacent sides to be 50.11 0.05 m and 75.21 0.08 m. These measurements are

not necessarily independent. Find a conservative estimate of the uncertainty in the

perimeter of the lot.

X 1 50.11 X 1 0.05

X 2 75.21 X 2 0.08

P 2 X1 2 X 2

c X c X

1 1 2 2 ..... cn X n

c1 X1 c2 X 2 ........ cn X n

2X 1 2 X2

2 X1 2 X

2

2X 1 2 X2

20.05 20.08

2X 1 2 X2

0.26

The uncertainty was computed to be 0.19 m when X and Y are independent.

UNCERTAINTIES FOR FUNCTIONS OF ONE MEASUREMENT

Estimation the uncertainty in a nonlinear function of a measurement is

essential in few instances.

Ex: A = R2 R - Radius of the circle

If X is a measurement whose uncertainty X is small, and if U is a

function of X, then

dU

U X

dX

In practice, we evaluate the derivative dU/dX at the observed

measurement X.

Let U(X) be a differentiable function. Let X be any point. Then, if X is close to X,

the first order Taylor series approximation for U(X) is

f x x f x

df

U X U X X X

dU x

dX dx

f X f X X X

df

dx

U X U X X X

dU

dx

Let X be a measurement

U(X) - Quantity calculated from X = U

X - Mean of X.

For any reasonably precise measurement, X will be close enough to X for the Taylor

series approximation to be valid.

Adding U(X ) to both sides of the above equation yields

U X U X U X X X U X

dU

dX

U U X X X

dU

dX

U U X X X

dU

dX

dU dU

U U X X X

dX dX

dU

is cons tan t because it is evaluated at X

dX

dU

U X X is also cons tan t U aX b

dX

aX b a X b

dU aX

2

a X

2 2

U X b

dX aX b a X

we evaluate the derivative dU/dX at the observed measurement X,

since we do not know the value X

Propagation of Error Uncertainties Are Only Approximate

dU

U X

dX

The uncertainties computed by using the above equation are often

only rough approximations.

than two significant digits.

The radius R of a circle is measured to be 5.00 0.01 cm. Estimate the area of the

circle and find the uncertainty in this estimate.

A R2

A R 2 52 78.5 cm 2

dU

R 0.01 cm U X

dX

R 2R R 2 50.01 0.31 cm 2

dA

A

dR

A 78.5 0.3 cm 2

A rock identified as cobble-sized quartzite has a mass m of 674.0 g. Assume this

measurement has negligible uncertainty. The volume V of the rock will be measured

by placing it in a graduated cylinder partially filled with water and measuring the

volume of water displaced. The density D of the rock will be computed as D = m/V.

Assume the volume of displaced water is 261.0 0.1 mL. Estimate the density of the

rock and find the uncertainty in this estimate.

dU

Mass

674 g

2.582 g / mL U X

Volume 261 mL dX

674

Considering mass = 674 as a known constant,

V

d 674 674

V 2 V 2

0.1 mL 0.001 g / mL

dV V 261

2.582 0.001 g / mL

Relative Uncertainties for Functions of One Measurement

If U is a measurement whose true value is U , and whose uncertainty

is U , the relative uncertainty in U is the quantity U/U .

The relative uncertainty is a unitless quantity.

It is frequently expressed as a percent.

In practice U is unknown, so if the bias is negligible, we estimate the

relative uncertainty with U/U.

The radius of a circle is measured to be 5.00 0.01 cm. Estimate the area, and find

the relative uncertainty in the estimate.

A R2 52 78.5 cm 2

R 2R R 2 50.01 0.31 cm 2

dA

A

dR

A 0.31

A 78.5 0.3 cm 2

100 0.4%

A 78.5

The acceleration of a mass down a frictionless inclined plane is given by a = g sin ,

where g is the acceleration due to gravity and is the angle of inclination of the

plane. Assume the uncertainty in g is negligible. If = 0.60 0.01 rad, find the

relative uncertainty in a.

a g sin

da

a

d

a

g cos 0.01

100 cot cot 0.6

180

1.46%

a g sin

a

1.5%

a

Uncertainties for Functions of Several Measurements

X1, X2 ,. . . , Xn are small, and if U = U(X1, X2, . . . , Xn) is a function of X1, X2, . . . , Xn,

then

2 2 2

U U U

U X2 X2 ....... X2

X 1 X 2 X n

1 2 n

In practice, we evaluate the partial derivatives at the point (X1, X2, . . . , Xn). This

relation is called multivariate propagation of error formula.

Let U = U(X1, X2, . . . , Xn) be a function whose partial derivatives all exist.

Let (1,2, . . . , n) be any point.

Then if X1, X2, . . . , Xn are close to 1, 2, . . . , n, respectively, the linearization of U is

given by using first-order multivariate Taylor series approximation.

U

U X 1 , X 2 ,....... X n U 1 , 2 .......n X 1 1 U X 2 2 ...... U X n n

X 1 X 2 X n

If X1, X2, . . . , Xn are independent measurements, the linear approximation leads to a

method for approximating the uncertainty in U, given the uncertainties in X1, X2, . . . ,

Xn.

Let 1,2, . . . , n be the means of X1, X2, . . . , Xn, respectively.

Then for any reasonably precise measurements, X1, X2, . . . , Xn will be close enough

to 1,2, . . . , n for the linearization to be valid.

U U U U U U

U U 1 , 2 .......n 1 2 ..... n X1 X 2 ...... Xn

X 1 X 2 X n X 1 X 2 X n

The quantities U/X1, U/X2, . . . , U/Xn are all constant, since they are

evaluated at the point (1,2, . . . , n). Therefore, the following quantity is constant

as well

U U U

U 1 , 2 .......n 1 2 ..... n

X 1 X 2 X n

U a bX

2

U 2 U 2

2

U 2

2 aX b a X b

U

X1

X 2 ....... X n

X 1 X 2 X n aX

2

b a X

2 2

aX b a X

Assume the mass of a rock is measured to be m = 674.0 1 g and the and the volume

of the rock is measured to be V = 261.0 0.1 mL. Estimate the density of the rock

and find the uncertainty in the estimate.

m 674 g

2 2 2.582 g / mL

2 2

m V V 261 mL

m V

1 m

; 2

2 2

1 m

m2 2 V2 m V V V

V V

2 2

1 2 674

1 0.12

0.004 g / mL 2.582 0.004 g / mL

261 261

2

One of the great benefits of the multivariate propagation of error formula is that it

enables one to determine which measurements are most responsible for the

uncertainty in the final result.

m 1

100 100 0.1483%

m 674

V 0.1

100 100 0.0383%

V 261

The uncertainty in the measurement of mass is more than the uncertainty in the

measurement of volume. Hence, there is need to decrease the uncertainty in the

measurement of mass

Uncertainties for Functions of Dependent Measurements

If X1, X2, . . . , Xn are not independent, the uncertainty in a function

U = U(X1,X2, . . . , Xn) can be estimated if the covariance of each pair (Xi , Xj ) is known.

In many situations, the covariances are not known.

In these cases, a conservative estimate of the uncertainty in U may be computed.

If X1, X2, . . . , Xn are measurements whose uncertainties X1, X2, . . . , Xn are small,

and if U = U(X1, X2, . . . , Xn) is a function of (X1, X2, . . . , Xn), then a conservative

estimate of U is given by

U U U

U X1 X 2 ........ Xn

X 1 X 2 X n

In practice, we evaluate the partial derivatives at the point (X1, X2, . . . , Xn).

The inequality is valid in almost all practical situations; in principle it can fail if some

of the second partial derivatives of U are quite large.

In practice, when measurements are dependent, it is often the case that not enough

is known about the dependence to quantify it.

In these cases, an upper bound may be placed on the uncertainty in a linear

combination of the measurements.

If X1, . . . , Xn are measurements (random variables) and c1, . . . , cn are

constants, then the random variable

c1X1 + c2X2 +..cnXn

is called a linear combination of X1, X2, . Xn

c X c X

1 1 2 2 ..... cn X n

c1 X1 c2 X 2 ....... cn X2 n

If X1, . . . , Xn are measurements whose relative uncertainties are

X1/X1, . . . ,Xn /Xn, and U = Xm1 Xm1 ..Xmn , where m1, . . . ,mn are any

exponents, then the relative uncertainty in U is

2 2 2

U X1

m1 m2 X 2 ....... mn X n

U X1 X2 Xn

U X 1m1 X 2m2

2 2 2

U 2 U 2 U 2

U

X1

X 2 ....... X n

X 1 X 2 X n

U m X

1

m1 1

1 2

2

X 2m2 X2 1 m2 X 1m1 X 2m2 1 X2 2

2 2

U m1 X 1m1 1 X 2m2 2 m2 X 1m1 X 2m2 1 2

m1 m2

X 1 m1 m2

X 2

U X 1 X 2 X1 X 2

2 2

U m1

2

2 m2 2

2

U X1

X 1 X 2

m1 m2 X 2

U X1 X2

U X1 X2

The height h of a cylinder is measured with a relative uncertainty of 2%, and the

radius r is measured with a relative uncertainty of 1%. Find the relative uncertainty

in the volume V.

V R2h U X m1 X m2

h R U X1

2

2

2%; 1%

m1

m2 X 2

h R U X1 X2

2 2

V R h

2 2

1 2

2

1 h 2 100 1 100 0.028

V R

V

0.028 100 2.8%

V

HOW TO REPORT AND USE UNCERTAINTIES

BEST ESTIMATE UNCERTAINTY

Ex: Best estimate of time = 2.4 s

Probable range = 2.3 to 2.5 s

Measured value of time = 2.4 0.1 s

SIGNIFICANT FIGURES

The last significant figure in any stated answer should usually be of the

same order of magnitude (in the same decimal position) as the

uncertainty

Ex:

92.81 with an uncertainty of 0.3 is written as 92.8 0.3

92.81 with an uncertainty of 3 is written as 93 3

92.81 with an uncertainty of 30 is written as 90 30

To reduce the inaccuracies caused by rounding, any numbers to be

used in subsequent calculations should normally retain at least one

significant figure more than is finally justified.

DISCREPANCY is the difference between two measured values of the

same quantity

26 9

25 2

15 1

16 8

resistance resistance

Discrepancy (10 ) > combined Stated margins of error overlap

uncertainty (3 ) Measurements are accurate, but

One of the experimenters made a imprecise.

mistake

COMPARISON OF MEASURED AND ACCEPTED VALUE

345 2

329 5 325 5

Because the accepted value (331 m/s) is within student As margins of error, his

result is satisfactory

The accepted value is just outside Student Bs margin of error, but his measurement

is nevertheless acceptable.

The accepted value is far outside Student Cs stated margins, and his measurement is

definitely unsatisfactory

COMPARISON OF TWO MEASURED NUMBERS

1.56 0.06

1.49 0.03

p q 0.07 0.09

The law of conservation of momentum states that the total momentum of an isolated system

is constant.

To test it, a series of experiments with two carts that collide as they move along a frictionless

track are conducted.

Because the margins of error for p and q overlap, these measurements are certainly consistent

with conservation of momentum (which implies that p and q should be equal)

COMPARISON OF TWO MEASURED NUMBERS

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