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What Affects Uncertainty?

Aim:
The aim of the experiment was to calculate the percentage of uncertainty for four different experiments. These experiments were limited but not limited to; the density of water, the volume of a metal cube, the volume of a metal hanger and the volume of a wire.

Method for the density of water:


We gathered the needed apparatus for calculating the density of water these items were: - One measuring cylinder - One Weighing scale - Water Afterwards we weighed the measuring cylinder on the weighing scale, without the water. Once this was finished we placed water into the measuring cylinder and read the volume of water. Next we weighed the measuring cylinder, with water, and subtracted this reading from the initial reading. This was so that we could attain the mass of the water. Finally to calculate the density we used the equation D = M/V.

Method for the Volume of a Metal Cube:


We gathered the needed apparatus for calculating the Volume of a Metal Cube these items were: - Ruler - Metal Cuboid To attain the volume of the metal cube we used the ruler to measure the length, breadth and height. Afterwards we used the equation Volume = Length x Breadth x height to get the volume of the metal cuboid.

Method for the Volume of a Metal Hanger


We gathered the needed apparatus for calculating the Volume of a Metal Hanger these items were: - 1000 mm^3 measuring cylinder - Water - Metal Hanger To attain the volume of a metal hanger, we filled the 1000 mm^3with water until 908 mm^3. Afterwards we placed the metal hanger into the measuring cylinder and the water rose to 918 mm^3. Once this was done we subtracted the initial reading, 900 mm^3, by the final reading, 918 mm^3: giving us the volume of the metal hanger.

Method for the Volume of a wire


We gathered the needed apparatus for calculating the Volume of a wire these items were: - Ruler - Wire Using the ruler we measured the length and the radius of the wire. Afterwards we calculated the volume through the equation Volume = pir^2 x height.

Results Experiment
Density of Water

Volume/Density
Density = Mass / Volume

Percentage of Uncertainty

Volume of a Metal Cube

Volume = Length x Breadth x Height

0.005 x 100 = 0.2551% 1.96

Volume of a metal Hanger

920 908 = 18 mm^3

0.5 x 100 = 2.78 % 18

Volume of a Wire

Volume =

Analysis
According to the taken results it is clear that there are two factors that can affect uncertainty. These two factors are random errors and systematic errors. Random errors pertain to: - The equipment used - The observer being less than perfect - External effects on the observed item These errors can happen at random moments. An example of this would be the inability of the observer to read the apparatus, properly. Whilst systematic errors pertain to: - Problems with the equipment - The observers inability to read the results in a consistent manner - The observers inability to give a proper estimate of the results These errors on the other hand, occur at each stage of the experiment. An example of this would be if the weighing scale was not properly calibrated. However, concerning this experiment one major factor that affected the percentage of uncertainty was the equipment used. This was namely because the used apparatus, such as the weighing scale, only gave whole numbers. Because of this there was always an absolute uncertainty of + .5 as it was unsure whether or not the weighing scale was rounding up or down. Ultimately this experiment cannot be considered accurate. This is because neither: the data used in the experiment was repeated and averaged nor was the systematic errors decreased.

Conclusion
This experiment proves that there are always uncertainties in any experiment. This is because it may be either that the apparatus used is inefficient and inaccurate or the observer (experimenter) may be inefficient, these factors can cause uncertainty. To conclude, nearly every factor in an experiment, may it be the equipment used or the experimenter, can cause an uncertainty