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Measurement Uncertainty

Measurement Uncertainty

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Published by: gcschmit on Aug 20, 2012
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07/10/2013

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Measurement Uncertainty Activities
Crank-Three-Times Example
Suppose that you calculating the density of a metal object by measuring the object’s volume and mass. Whenrecording your measurements you will record the measured value followed by either the specified value for themeasurement uncertainty or a reasonable estimate. For example:volume: 2.75 ± 0.25 cm
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mass: 54.2 ± 0.1 gDensity is mass / volume. To calculate the measurement uncertainty of the calculated volume, you need toaccount for the uncertainty of your volume and mass measurements. There are several approach to do this;we will use the Crank-Three-Times method. The first calculation is the nominal value. This is calculated usingthe measured values of each measurement. For example:density = 54.2 g / 2.75 cm
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= 19.709 g/cm
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The second calculation is the smallest value based on the uncertainty of the measurements. This is calculatedusing either the measured values plus or minus the uncertainty, depending on the calculation. For example:smallest density = 54.1 g / 3 cm
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= 18.03 g/cm
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(subtracting the uncertainty from the mass measurement and adding the uncertainty to the volumemeasurement results in the smallest calculated density).The third calculation is the largest value based on the uncertainty of the measurements. For example:largest density = 54.3 g / 2.5 cm
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= 21.72 g/cm
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(adding the uncertainty to the mass measurement and subtracting the uncertainty from the volumemeasurement results in the largest calculated density).You would express the calculated density as 19.709 (+2.011 –1.679) g/cm
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Station 1: Table Area
Using a meter stick, measure the length and width of the lab table. Record your measurements usingthe format of measured value ± uncertainty. Make a reasonable estimate of the uncertainty. Specifyunits.width:length:Use the Crank-Three-Times method to calculate the area of the table. Record the area as thenominal value ± the calculated uncertainty:

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