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Errors in Measurement

Errors in Measurement

Error = Measured value True value.

No measurement is exact, every measurement contains errors

The True value of a measurement is never known

The Exact error present is always unknown

Study of errors help to know how these errors are propagated

If an error is detected it can be accounted for in the form of a suitable


correction.

If an error goes undetected then it would make experimental data


unreliable.

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Classification:

1) Systematic or cumulative errors

2) Random or accidental errors

3) Miscellaneous or Gross errors

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1)Systematic or Cumulative Errors
Errors that occur each time a measurement is made
Tends to have same sign and magnitude for a given set of conditions
Tends to accumulate, hence known as cumulative errors
Tend to change instrument reading by a fixed magnitude and sign for
each reading, hence called instrument bias
These Errors can be eliminated by making corrections to your
measurements
Applying correction factor to the spring balance

They are caused by the following:


Instrument errors: are inherent in the system.
May be caused due to poor design/ construction of the instrument.

E.g.:- Errors in division of graduated scale,


- inequality of balance arms,
- irregular spring tension etc.
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Environmental errors:
Caused due to variations in conditions external to the system.
Eg. Effect to changes in temp., barometric pressure., humidity , electric
field etc.
Errors in strain measurement using strain gauge due to change in
ambient temperature.

Loading errors:
Caused by the effect of physical system being tested.
Eg. Obstruction type of flow meters may partially obstruct the flow
conditions,
Introduction of thermometer alters thermal capacity of the system

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2) Random or Accidental Errors
Any factors that randomly affect measurement of the variable across the
sample.
Such errors vary in magnitude, may be + ve or - ve on the basis of
chance alone.
They are accidental, small and independent
These type of errors can be detected by lack of consistency in measured
value, when same input is imposed repeatedly.

Common causes are:

Friction between mating parts


Backlash
Parallax error between pointer and scale
Mechanical vibration
Hysteresis in elastic members

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3) Gross errors
These are partly systematic or random in nature
Due to human mistakes in reading instruments and recording and calculating
measurement results.
Reasons:
Personal or Human errors: caused due to limitation in the human
senses.
Eg. One may consistently read the observed value either high or low,
introducing systematic error in the result.
Another time , value may be recorded slightly different from actual one,
causing random error.
Due to oversight, The read of temperature as 31.5 while the actual reading
may be 21.5 .

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1. Observational errors.
2. Reading with parallax error.
3. Incorrect adjustments of zero and full-scale adjustments.
4. Improper applications of instruments:
Using a 0100 V voltmeter
to measure 0.1 V, etc.
5.Operational error.

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Statistical Analysis of Data

The Experimental Data is obtained in Two Forms of the tests:-


1. Multi sample Test
2. Single Sample Test

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1. Multi sample Test:- In this test, the repeated measurement
of a given quantity are done using different test conditions
such as :
employing different instruments,
different ways of measurement
by employing different observers.

2. Single Sample Test :- A single measurement for succession


of measurement done under identical conditions.

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Arithmetic Mean

best approximation that can be made of a number of


readings of the same quantity also called Mean value.
mean is computed by summing all the values and dividing
by the number of measurements

x1 x2 ......xn 1 n
x xi - - - - - -(1)
n n i 1

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Median

Middle value of a set of an odd no, of readings, when the nos.


are arranged in numerical order.

For even no. of readings, mean of the two central readings

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Mode:

Value of variables that occurs most frequently

Dispersion from mean:

extent to which the values are dispersed about the mean

Deviation: Departure of the readings from the mean:


_ _ _
1 x1 _ x; 2 x2 x ..... n xn x

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Average deviation: sum of the absolute values of the
deviations divided by the no. of readings. It is taken as a measure
of the accuracy of measurement.
1 2 ........ n n xi x
D
n i 1 n
Standard Deviation or Root mean square (rms):
Square root of the sum of individual deviations dvided by no. of
readings
2
12 2 2 ..... n 2 n ( xi x )

n i 1 n

Variance: Square of standard deviation


2
n ( xi x )
2
i 1 n

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Normal or Gaussian distribution

Random effects in experimental work are studied with


referernce to Normal or Gaussian Distribution

All observations include large no. of both positive and


negative random effects

There is equal probability of + and ve disturbing effects


having a central tenedency

The probability curve of error plotted against magnitude of


error will be symmetrical about zero value.

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Law of Probability states that normal occurance of deviations
from average value of an infinite no. of measurements can be
expressed as 1

2

P 2 2
e
2

Where, P- Probablity of occurance of deviation


standard deviation
magnitude of deviation from mean

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precision index h
2
Value of h determines the sharpness of the curve. Large
value of h represents high precision of data.
Small value of h represents low precision

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Curve showing P .vs. is called Normal or Gaussian
distribution
Curve is symmetrical about mean value

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Probable error:
Consider two points -r and +r as marked in figure located so that half
the deviations lie between = r. ie. X axis and ordinates erected at =+r
and -r equals half the total area under curve.

Larger value of flatter the curve and hence larger the expected error
of measurement.

Maximum probability has a large value of h and small values of standard


deviation

Larger value of h, sharpen the distribution curve.

x
Area under probability curve is unity ie,
Pdx 1.0
x

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r
1
Location of point r is given by
Pd
r
2

0.4769
And Probable error r 0.6745 0.8453D
h

Where D is average deviation.

Probable error indicates maximum error possible to be present in the data.

Probable error represents the intervel about the mean in which lies half of data.

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Problem
Qn. Following readings are taken of a certain physical length with the help of
micrometer screw:
1.41, 1.45, 1.63, 1.54, 1.49, 1.51, 1.6, 1.55, 1.47, 1.65mm
Assuming only random errors are present, calculate the arithmetic mean,
average deviation,standard deviation, variance and probable error of reading.

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Arithmetic mean=1.531



0.65
0.065mm
Average deviation=D n 10
(For average deviation sign is not considered)

1 n 2
Standard deviation
1
(0.0586) 0.0765 mm
n i 1 10

Variance = 2 0.07652 0.00586 mm2

Probable error r = 0.6745 = 0.6745 x 0.0765 = 0.0516

r 0.0156
Probable error of the mean= rm 0.0052
n 1 10 1

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Least square method
Experimental data consists of measurements of dependent
variable y with another variable x.

Curve may be drawn


From point to point
A faired curve through theses points ie. Drawing a smooth curve with
equal no of points on each side and maximum no. Points on the curve.

Different persons may draw different curves for the same set
data.

If a straight line variation is required, a variation of the form


y=mx+c can be drawn using the least square fit technique.

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Theory of least squares states that if the points are distributed normally
and independently, the best line would be drawn that the sum of the
squares of the deviations of point from the line is minimum.

Let n experimental points be (x1, y1,), (x2, y2,)........ (xn, yn,) .

It can be assumed that independent variable x is without error and


dependent variable y has a random error in the whole range.

A linear function of the form y=mx+c is the best function connecting y


and x

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m
x y x y
i i i i
or
n x i yi xi yi

x x n xi xi
2 2 2 2
i i

x y x (x y )
2

c yi m xi or i i i i i

n x x
2 2
i i

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mxi c yi
1
Standard deviation of ' y ' Sy
2

Sy
Standard deviation of ' x ' Sx
a

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n x i yi xi yi
m
n xi xi
2 2

xi y x (x y )
2

c i i i i

n x x
2 2
i i

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Assignment Questions for M6 A& B Batches.

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Assignment question for P6
1) From the following data obtain y as a linear function of x
using method of least squares
Y 1.2 2.0 2.4 3.5 3.5
x 1.0 1.6 3.4 4.0 5.2

2) The table given below lists a sample of experimental data:


Value 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Frequency 1 2 3 6 7 6 4 2 1

Calculate (i) arithmetic mean (ii) Mean deviation (iii) Standard


deviation (iv) Probable error

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References
Mechanical Measurements Nakra
Mechanical Measurements Rajput
Mechanical Measurements Sawhney
Mechanical Measurements R K Jain

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