# Light Intensity: How the Distance Affects the Light Intensity

Fig 1: The Raw Data Table Showing How the Distances from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe Affects the Percent of Maximum Intensity Distance from the light bulb Percent of Maximum Intensity ( ± 0.01) to the light probe (m) ( ± 0.004m) Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 0.061 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.140 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.190 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.240 0.96 0.96 0.96 0.290 0.96 0.96 0.96 0.340 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.390 0.94 0.94 0.94 0.440 0.93 0.93 0.93 0.490 0.87 0.85 0.84 0.540 0.75 0.74 0.73 0.590 0.50 0.52 0.51 0.640 0.44 0.43 0.43 0.690 0.40 0.40 0.41 0.740 0.40 0.38 0.38 0.790 0.35 0.35 0.35 0.840 0.30 0.30 0.31 0.890 0.28 0.28 0.29 0.940 0.21 0.22 0.20 0.990 0.18 0.18 0.19 1.040 0.16 0.17 0.15 The percent of maximum intensity values have all been subtracted by 0.02 because it was the average value the probe measured without the light source on. Also, the uncertainty for the distance was judged to be ± 0.004m. By separately measuring the distance from the edge of the container to the light probe in it and the distance from the light source to the probe, there was already an uncertainty of ± 0.001m. Another ± 0.003m was added because there would have been some additional uncertainties from where the ruler measured to be the edge of the light bulb. Moreover, the uncertainty of the percent of maximum intensity was ± 0.01, because a computer collected the values. Sample Calculations: Calculating the average of percent of maximum intensity of when the distance is 1.040m ± 0.004m

Average maximum intensity =
in trial 1, 2 and 3.

P1 + P2 + P3 , where P1 , P2 and P3 respectively represents the percent of maximum intensity 3

=

(0.16) + (0.17) + (0.15) 3 0.48 = 3

= 0.16

14 0.440m and 0.01) × 0.01 0. this is not very realistic because when performing various trials even the light probe is prone to have at least a small degree of uncertainty.01 0.72 0.40 0.38 0.01 0.01 0.16 ± 0. 0.290 0.71 0.01 0. 0.96 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.440 0.040m±0.02 0.01 0.01 Minimum residual=(A)−(minimum data value collected) =0. its uncertainty should be multiplied by the same constant as well.640 0.94 0.01 0.040 0.390 0.02 0.790m.01 0.240m. 0.74 0.85 0.16=0.890 0.97 0. was 0.01 0.061m.290m.16 0.21 0.735 ± 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.190m.140 0. the average maximum intensity is 0.01 0.01 0.51 0.01 0.01 0.01m was .01 0.340m.240 0.740 0.390m.72 0.01 0.01 1. Thus.18 0.040m±0. the uncertainty of the average maximum intensity is ±0.71 0.01m for the distance of 1. Average light intensity = (average maximum intensity) × 0.01 0.590 0.01W m. Therefore.98 0.01 × 0. 0.01 0.990 0.26 0.490 0.29 0.040m ± 0.540 0.840 0.340 0.2 Fig 2: Processed Data Table Showing the Relationship between the Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe and the Average Percent of Maximum Intensity. 0. However.16 0.01 0.075 ≈ 0.33 0.43 0.040m ± 0. Calculating the average light intensity when the distance is 1. as well as the uncertainty for the average light intensity. for the distance of 1.74W m.940 0.96 0.12 0.21 0.01 0.004m.15=0.01 0.01 0.16 when the distance is 1.75) = 0. for the measurements when the uncertainties were 0.01W m -2 ) Intensity Maximum Intensity (±) Intensity (± W m-2 ) (m) ( ± 0.75 = (0.01 0.01 0.17−0.75 = (0.01 There were various distances.690 0.16−0.23 0. 0.790 0.01 0.01 0.16 × 0.39 0.061 0.004m.01 0. 0.30 0.01 0.2 ± 0.01 0. where the uncertainty for the average percent of maximum intensity.75) ± (0.64 0. as calculated above Maximum residual=(maximum data value collected)−(A) =0. both the residuals are the same.004m.004m: As calculated before.Calculating the uncertainty for the maximum intensity when the distance is 1.01 0.97 0.70 0. However.93 0. 0.190 0.73 0. its Uncertainty as well as the Average Light Intensity and its Uncertainty Distance from the light Average Percent Uncertainty for the Average Light Intensity Uncertainty for the bulb to the light probe of Maximum Average Percent of Average Light (W m -2 ) (±0.004m) 0.28 0.95 0. an uncertainty of ±0.16.73 0.74 0.040m±0.30 0.01 The greater value between the maximum and minimum residual is the uncertainty. Since the average light intensity is multiplied by a constant.004m Average maximum intensity (A)=0.01 0.140m.35 0.56 0.

9 1 1.5 0.8 0.00 0 0. The horizontal error bars are also small because the uncertainty for distance was only ± 0.established for the average percent of maximum intensity.1 0. The uncertainty was the smallest value that had the same number of decimal places as the average percent of maximum intensity.1 Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe (m) -2 Most of the vertical error bars were very small since the uncertainties were mostly ±0.6 0. the intensity should decrease by a function of inverse squared. if the first seven points are excluded from the graph. only from the eighth data value and the subsequent ones support the equation. However.60 Average Light Intensity 0.20 0.80 0. for all the data which is a very small value. as the distance increases. Thus.10 0.004m.2 0. .4 0. Fig 3: Average Light Intensity vs.50 0. the data can be represented as shown in Fig 4.3 0.7 0.70 0. In fact.01W m . according to the equation of Power = Intensity × Area = I × 4πd 2 .30 0.40 0. The first eight data points are very similar to one another and there is not great change in the average light intensity as the distance increases. The first eight collected values do not support the equation. Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe 0.

I×A= ∴ Δx = Therefore. Δx where I is the intensity.70 0.Fig 4: Average Light Intensity vs.50 y = 0.1 0. Δy slope = = Power Δx Δy Power = I × A = .01W m which are small in comparison to the measured distance and the average light intensity.20 0.60 Average Light Intensity 0. and Δy the intensity I . both the horizontal and vertical error bars are very small because their uncertainties are -2 respectively ± 0.1 Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe (m) Again as aforementioned.9 1 1.6 0. Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe.7 0. the distance has to be manipulated.4 0.1465x-2. Excluding the First Seven Data Points 0.97137 0. .005 R² = 0. the x-axis has to represent I Δx 1 1 = A 4πd 2 1 4πd 2 for the slope of the graph to signify power.004m and ±0. for the slope to represent power.10 0.80 0. Sample Calculations: The slope of Fig 4 is neither linear nor significant. Therefore.8 0.30 0.2 0.00 0 0.5 0. A the area of the sphere with distance d.40 0.3 0.

01 1. the uncertainty should be to the smallest decimal place of the calculated inverse area which is to the thousandths.004m) (± W m-2 ) ( ± m -2 ) 0.when d=0. 440 ⎝ ⎠⎪ ⎩ ⎭ 1 ! 1 {5. . 1 1 = 2 0.440) ± ⎜ ⎜ ⎟⎬ 4π ⎪ 0 .01 0.490 0.840 0.411 0.440 ± ⎟ 0. the uncertainty too should be divided by the same constant. 5.940 0.004 0.740 0.01 0.001 0.01W m ) light probe (m) Distances as the radius ( m -2 ) Area of the Sphere Light Intensity ( ± 0.165289256 "0.004m: 4πd 2 The uncertainty is divided by the distance value to calculate the ratio of the two.040 0.007m ! The processed distance should have three significant figure since the raw data had three significant figures.990m ± 0.100 0. Then.167 0.01 0.001 0.040m ± 0. Fig 5: Processed Data Table Showing the Relationship between the Distance from the Light Bulb to the Light Probe and the Inverse of the Area of the Sphere with the Indicated Distances.01 0.090 0.14 0.002 0.01 Even though the distances of 0.440 0.128 0.002m and 1.64 0.002 0.640 0.01 0.003 0.790 0.002m respectively had three.01 0.007 0.540 0.940m ± 0. three and four significant figures.145 0.004 ⎞ ⎛ ⎜ 0.005 0. Excluding the First Seven Data Points in Fig 1 Distance from the Inverse of the Area of the Uncertainties for Average Light Intensity Uncertainty for -2 -2 light bulb to the Sphere with the Indicated the Inverse of the the Average (W m ) (±0.33 0.56 0.331 0.0939143501)} 4! Since the distance is divided by a constant.001 0.590 0.30 0. ⎛ 0.001 0. their inverse of the sphere’s area were rounded to two significant figures to match the decimal places of the rest of the data and the uncertainty.02 0. as well as their Uncertainties.12 0.002 0.411m ± 0.440m ± 0. 0.440.16 0.001 0.01 0.01 0.29 0.074 0.0939143501 ± 4! 4! -2 -2 ! 0.004 2 4πd 4π (0.23 0.70 0.26 0.273 0.01 0.01 0.890 0.001 0.38 0.165289256 ± ("0.440)−2 ⎞⎫ 1 ⎧ ⎪ −2 ⎟⎪ = ⎨(0. It was also multiplied with the processed distance of inverse squared of 0.440 was raised to the power of -2.081 0.440 −2 0.194 0.004 × (−2) × (0.229 0.113 0.990 0.002m.690 0.21 0.440 ⎠ = ⎝ 4π Calculating the value of Then the ratio of the uncertainty to the distance was multiplied by -2 because the 0.440 ± ) 0.

411+0.40 0.97182 0. Δy 0.6W Δx 0.66 −0.007. which is equivalent to (0.11 − 0. 0. Firstly.60 Average Light Intensity y = 1. one has to know the maximum and minimum slopes.331-0.70-0.7747x + 0. to calculate the minimum slope.400 0.251 The units is W (watts) since the slope measures the power as aforementioned.345 Then. 0.100 0. Sample calculations: Calculating for slope uncertainty: To calculate the slope uncertainty.001.350 0. it is ideal to use the point C(0.12+0.075 − 0. maximum slope = Similarly.450 All the points have small horizontal and vertical error bars because their uncertainties were small.11).70 0. the uncertainty of the slope can be calculated.01).074+0. the uncertainty for the horizontal error bar increases which can be attributed to the squaring of the distance and taking the inverse of the area.Fig 6: Average Light Intensity vs. 0.2W Δx 0.073 − 0. The point of the smallest and second to largest inverse of the area values should be used to best represent the maximum slope.66). and point B (0.01).326 − 0.000 0. to calculate the maximum slope.200 0. Inverse of the Area of the Sphere 0. 0. which is equivalent to (0. which is equivalent to (0.00 0.20 0.250 0.56 minimum slope = = = ≈ 1.64+0. 0.005. which is equivalent to (0.0126 R² = 0. The point of the smallest and greatest inverse of the area values should be used to represent the minimum slope.074-0.075. and (0.10 0. using the value with the greatest inverse area would not be recommended since using the second largest data of the inverse area would yield a greater slope.80 0. In this case.01). Another thing that should be noted is that as the inverse area increases.050 0.02). it is ideal to use the point A(0. The average of the slope is also needed and is dictated by what the excel program calculated as the slope of the trend line in Fig 6 which is .418.326.150 0.50 0.073.30 0.300 1\$ -2 Inverse of the Area of the Sphere ! # & (m ) " A% 0.418 − 0. Δy 0. 0. with the maximum and minimum slopes.13 − 0.001.69 −0. 0.12-0. 0.13).55 = = ≈ 2.69).

were not present in the experiment. The trend line in Fig 4 was manipulated. Therefore. Also. as calculated by Microsoft Excel.005. approximately 1. The y-intercept of Fig 6. had an appropriate size even though most of them did not fall within the trend line. Thus. can be calculated. it was manipulated so that the x-axis represented the inverse of sphere’s area with the measured distance as its radius. the uncertainty. as the distance increases. which means that the distance to the light source is infinitely large. Moreover. which is Fig 4. This is supported by the R squared value of Fig 6 which is 0. the uncertainty of the slope is 0. an indicator of the random errors.005. There were no glaring anomalies that would have changed the data significantly.4W Minimum residual=(S)-(min)=1.approximately 1.1465x-2. The trend line in Fig 6 represents power and has a slope of 1. This indicates that there was a systematic error where all the data points were about 0. Both graphs use the values from the same set of data. Fig 3 and 4 can be compared to one another. The inverse area of the sphere.8W with an uncertainty of ± 0. the line does not intersect the origin. The efficiency.013W.2W The maximum residual is greater than the minimum residual. Conclusion: As supported by the collected data. in Fig 4. Fig 6 also supports the aforementioned conclusion.013W from the light source. However. which are other indicators of random errors. This indicates that inverse area graph.4W. First. The trend line is a straight line but not all the uncertainty bars pass through the trend line. Lastly.4W. the Fig 6 does not show that there was a very prominent anomaly that would have completely altered the data. the inverse squared relationship is better shown in Fig 4 than in Fig 3 which has additional data that does not correspond to the expected inverse squared relationship. Fig 4 plots only a portion of the data set that Fig 3 plots.8−1. However. All data points are fairly close to the trend line.8W±0. it is not proportional.8=0. The slope of Fig 6 is 1. this number is not reliable in calculating the percent error because it is not the power emitted by the light bulb and because most of the power is dissipated through heat. Nonetheless. there would still be a power of 0. the 40W that the light bulb uses indicates the efficiency of the light bulb. to straighten it. when the distance from the light source is infinitely large.8W. Thus. Average slope (S)=1. The slope of Fig 6. All the slopes were rounded to two significant figures because the smallest significant figure number was two. Nevertheless.2−1. Anomalies.97182. is approximately 0. x was raised to the power of -2. The power the light bulb used was 40W. the light intensity decreases by its inverse squared. This was done not only to make the graph linear but also to make the slope of the trend line represent power.013W. so that it became a straight line as shown in Fig 6. a value very close to -2.4W. The value is very close to 1 which signifies that the data lies close to the trend line and that there were no obvious random errors.02 to yield the data in Fig 1 was not significant enough. it could not even be determined if the theoretical value falls within the experimental value. as shown in the sample calculations before.8W Maximum Slope (max)=2. has a linear relationship between the average light intensity. what the x-axis represented had to be manipulated. had a curved line as its trend line.8W is .013W greater than it should have been because even when error bars are considered. This may have occurred because the light probe may have measured light that was from the surrounding and not from the light bulb or because the initial subtraction of 0. However. would yield a linear graph. all the light would have been dissipated before reaching the sensor. instead of the x-axis signifying the distance. This illustrates that the distance and light intensity have an inverse squared relationship. the y-intercept is around 0. The result of the graph with the processed data is Fig 6.2W Minimum Slope (min)=1. However. the trend line is represented by the equation y = 0. Therefore. which raises the distance to a power of negative two. which is the power output over power input. This indicates that when the inverse area of the sphere is zero.6W Maximum residual=(max)−(S)=2.6=0. the graph showing the trend between distance and the average light intensity. Fig 6. indicating that the average light intensity and distance have an inverse squared relationship. the power that the light probe measures should be 0W since the light probe would be too far from the source to measure any light. The percent error cannot be calculated because there was not an accepted value. In Fig 4. The distance is raised approximately to the negative squared power.

How the error affected the data For the greater distances. shifting the data points downwards. This control variable was not controlled because even during the one and a half hours in which the experiment was performed.9718. For the greater distances. the efficiency is approximately 0. were greater than the subtracted value of 0. the percent of maximum light intensity would have been greater than the actual. the R squared value was 0. the experimental value of 1. it would have caused a systematic error where the data points. this error would have caused the data points to be smaller than the actual because their percents of maximum light intensities. Then. . was not constant throughout the experiment. As the light probe moved farther away from the light source which was turned off. The aforementioned systematic error where the trend line in Fig 6 intersects the point (0. which indicates that only about 4. By the end of the experiment. This degree of accuracy supports that the experimental results for power is reasonable. in Fig 6. It would have shifted the data points upwards. Therefore. On the other hand. It would have decreased all the averages of the data. In Fig 6.4W was also reasonable according to the raw data collected. were smaller than the subtracted value of 0. The data of the third trial in Fig 1 would have been smaller than what was measured. 0. which was during the morning.02. would be closer to intersecting the origin. There is a lot of sunlight in the morning. As aforementioned. the experiment was done during the first block of the school.5% of the electrical energy is converted to usable energy.8W ± 0. the sensor measured some percent of light intensity even though the light source was turned off. it seem to have measured a greater percent of maximum intensity. as well as Fig 6. during which the most sunlight was reaching the experiment. when the light source was turned off. Thus. the trend line. the data would be smaller and shifted downwards. 0. like the sunlight and the light from the computer. for the smaller distances.045. were greater than the actual because their percents of maximum light intensities.02. the results would be more accurate by recording what the light probe measured at each distance with the light source turned off and subtracting that value from what the light probe measured when the light source on. more and more sunlight reached the classroom where the experiment was performed. the light intensity decreases by its inverse squared is reasonable as Fig 4. Error When collecting the raw data. that was the approximation of what the light probe measured throughout the distances. when the light source was turned off. This is a low value considering that the efficiency for incandescent light bulb is between 10% and 17% ("Lighting Efficiency Comparison").013) instead of the origin might have been caused for various reasons stated below. which the light probe might have measured. strongly supports. The slope therefore would be smaller and the y-intercept greater but it would be a more accurate representation of the performed experiment. the raw data in the third trial would have been greater than when there would have been no influence of external light sources. If the variable of surrounding light was controlled. However. The systematic error would have been reduced and the subsequent trend line in Fig 6 would have shifted downwards. which implies that the data points were very close to the trend line. Moreover.the power output and 40W is the power output. The amount of surrounding light. How the improvement will affect the data It would have reduced the systematic error for all the data points in Fig 6. How the error can be improved Instead of taking the average. the data would be greater and shifted upwards. For the smaller distances. Thus.02 was subtracted from all the raw data in Fig 1. Evaluation of Procedures and Improvements: The conclusion that as the distance increases. it is idealistic to do the lab in a room without windows or during the nighttime. then the light probe should not have measured any light when the This error can be mitigated by performing the experiment during a time when there is no sunlight or light from the room. For instance. when extended.

the range of the values tested could have been smaller. However. Repetition of more trials could have made the results more accurate The collected data is quite reliable. Thus. For some median distances. in the processed data table of Fig 5. it would have had less light reflections and would have measured less percent of maximum intensity. Initially. like five trials per distance instead of three. then the y-intercept could have been closer to the origin. If more accurate results were yielded. it was placed within a tube. The method with which the equipments were used maximized the usage of each material. to yield more accurate results. there were some books right below it and none in measuring some distances. Where there were books under the light probe. a light sensor could have been used instead of a light probe (“TI Light Probe”). which is a significant range. for some distances. the light could have been reflected from the desk and measured by the light probe. Even though the trend line in both Fig 4 and 6 did not fall within the uncertainties. Moreover. The range of values was a bit too large because the distances that were closer to the light bulb were not necessary in analyzing the data. A wider range would not have improved the results. For instance. The seven shortest distances were not necessary. Thus. Thus. the light intensity could have been greater than others due to the reflective nature of the desk. Therefore. the R squared value is close to one which indicates that the data points were all close to the trend lines. Lastly. this modification in the apparatus would improve the results. due to the great fluctuations when measuring the percent of maximum light intensity. such as a wooden surface. the lamp and the light probe was elevated and placed on top of books to lessen the impact of the reflecting light.light source was turned off or it should not have fluctuated. Thus. On the other hand. The surfaces under the light probe were different. there were twenty data points to work with. Then. the time was managed well since the experiment was finished during the allotted time. where there were no books under the probe. Also. This error can be adjusted by using a long surface that barely reflects any light. The surface of the desk was reflecting a lot of sunlight and light from the lamp. The method had maximized the usage of the tube. . However. Lastly. the number of trials should have been greater. there were no obvious anomalies supporting that the data is reliable. the values would be smaller because there would be less light reflected by external light sources such as the sun light. then the surface on which the light probe was placed on should have been the same throughout the experiment. it would decrease the slope in Fig 6 and the yintercept would be closer to the origin. there were only thirteen data points that were actually needed. there was an improvement that was made during the experiment. The multiple trials in Fig 1 yielded raw data of percent of maximum light intensity that were close to one another. If the control variables were controlled. to not measure the sun light with the light probe. Thus. the equipment used had an accuracy of ± 20%. Throughout the distance that the light probe measured the percent light intensity. the books would also have been unnecessary since the reflective surface of the desk could have been avoided.

Web. 1 Mar.com/home/appliances/lighting/comparison.mge. .com.Works Cited "Lighting Efficiency Comparison.htm>.com/booklets/tilt-bta.pdf>. 2012. <www2. Vernier. "TI Light Probe." Vernier.vernier. <http://www. Madison Gas and Electric Company. 2012. Web." MGE. 28 Mar.