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1 General Tips 4 Uncertainties
 If range given e.g. 0 to 20, try to get measurement from For a quantity ? = (2.0 ± 0.1)??
a large spread of the range.  Absolute uncertainty = ∆? = ±0.1??
 Record all measurements needed to obtain final value  Fractional uncertainty =
= 0.05
including intermediary steps ∆?
 Percentage uncertainty = ? × 100% = 5%
 For example if a length l is derived from l = l2 - l1 then l1
 Combining errors:
and l2 should appear in the table.
o When values added or subtracted, add absolute error
 Column labelled with name of symbol and units 2?+? 2?−? 2∆?+∆?
If ? = 3
or ? = 3
, then ∆? = 3
2 Micrometer Screw Gauge o When values multiplied or divided, add % errors
o When values are powered (e.g. squared), multiply
percentage error with power
2? ∆? ∆? 3∆?
If ? = 2?? 3 or ? = ?3 , then ?
= ?
+ ?
Instrument Uncertainty
Ruler 0.1 cm
Measures objects up to 0.01mm Protractor 2o
 Place object between anvil & spindle Stop watch Max - Min
 Rotate thimble until object firmly held by jaws Ammeter 2
 Add together value from main scale and rotating scale
5 Treatment of Significant Figures
3 Vernier Scale  Actual error: recorded to only 1 significant figure
Measures objects up to 0.1mm  Number of decimal places for a calculated quantity is
 Place object on rule equal to number of decimal places in actual error
 Push slide scale to edge of object. Quantity Justification
 The sliding scale is 0.9mm long & is s.f. of calculated quantity To s.f. of measure value
s.f. of measure value To precision of instrument
divided into 10 equal divisions.
 Always give calculated quantity s.f. equal or one less
 Check which line division on sliding scale
than measured value
matches with a line division on rule
 Subtract the value from the sliding scale 6 Errors in Experiments
(0.09 × ?????????) by the value from the rule.
Error Improvement
4 Systematic and Random Errors Water related experiment
Hard to see surface due to
 Systematic error: Use colored liquid
refraction/meniscus effect
o Constant error in one direction; too big or too small Labels get wet/ink runs Use waterproof labels/ink
o Cannot be eliminated by repeating or averaging Ball related experiment
o If systematic error small, measurement accurate Locating center of the ball Mark the center of the ball
o Accuracy: refers to degree of agreement between when reading rule with marker
result of a measurement and true value of quantity. Inconsistent bounce Use a flat surface
 Random error: Fast-moving object experiment
o Random fluctuations or scatter about a true value Difficult to judge when ball Use sensor or record with
o Can be reduced by repeating and averaging is at e.g. max displacement camera frame by frame
o When random error small, measurement precise Hard to see when object Use pressure sensor to
o Precision: refers to degree of agreement of repeated strikes floor stop timer
measurements of the same quantity (regardless of Difficult to judge end point Mark distance with lines
whether it is correct or not)

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PHYSICS PRACTICAL [9702] Move by increments/hold Bench/ Ramp (Surface) related experiment Difficulty in deciding the with newton-meter Some parts of board Ensure same section of toppling point and tilt until F = 0 rougher / surface uneven board used in each expt.g.g. use a long Ruler slips on support Glue support to block bench string/pulley and weights Magnetism experiment Difficult to judge reading Use Newton meter with a Use various materials to on meter when detached: ‘max hold’ facility/video & Effect of surrounding e.g. Put colored paper behind/ Weights move off path tape. reaches pivot and object switched off/temp. glue eye-level perpendicular Pulley experiment Parallax error /extend mark to wood Masses hit each other Use larger pulley /shadow projection Friction at pulley Lubricate pulley Difficult to hold rule still Mount ruler in stand Clamp / electromagnetic Difficult to measure Clamp rule / ensure rule is Uncertain starting position with steel because the ruler moves vertical using set square Moment experiment Newton meter Project cylinder over bench Difficult to pull Newton Ensure force parallel to Rule hits bench / elevate apparatus meter parallel to ruler/ ruler e. Releasing object from rest experiment Board slips/unstable Clamp/fix to bench with Difficulty in releasing Use a remote-controlled /supporting block topples tape/blu-tack object due to e. force clamp/electromagnet use (long) piece of string to Difficult in pulling in line Keep rod vertical/use connect the newton-meter Rod falls sideways with board guide to the block Oscillation experiment Heat loss experiment Time object at max disp. separate magnets & test if ruler moves suddenly/ playback or freeze frame/ glass/magnetic materials material affects results force = 0 after detachment use force sensor & logger Use system of pulley & Difficult to zero Newton- weights/use force sensor meter when horizontal with data-logger Page 2 of 3 .g. Turn off fan (light object) even after switching off Oscillations die out quickly Increase object thickness Terminal velocity experiment Difficult to judge end/start/ May not have reached Time over three markers Use fiducial marker complete swing terminal velocity constant Retort stand moves Add weights/clamp Light dependent experiment Electricity experiment External light affects (LDR) Conduct expt. CIE AS LEVEL. rises max before reading Non-uniform osc. Heat lost through sides Lag/insulate/polystyrene Time taken (T) too short or with motion sensor/video and /or Bottom container large uncertainty in T & playback in slow motion Use larger volume of water Thermometer bulb not /time more oscillations /use thermocouple/small completely immersed Object doesn’t swing temperature sensor Make hole bigger/bush or freely/ friction between Resistor gives heat when bearing idea Wait until temp. in dark room Resistance/current Length of tube changes Clean contacts Make pre-slots in tube fluctuating when paper added Voltmeter scale not Cylinders not aligned Align on desk/rule Use digital voltmeter sensitive enough Difficult to hold together Tape/clamp together Tape to ruler/hang weights Wires not straight off end/clamp wire Errors in Apparatus Force experiment Error Improvement Reach max force suddenly Force sensor w/data logger Meter rule Fix cotton loop to rule e.

g.znotes. Saif Asmi & Zubair Junjunia. It is currently freely available from the website text or visual.0 International License. If you are the owner of such media. utilized in this document and do not accept its usage then I urge you to contact me and I would immediately replace said media.PHYSICS PRACTICAL [9702] Objects with unfixed diameter (Circular objects) Difficult to measure Use Vernier calipers or diameter because object micrometer screw gauge flexible/not circular to measure average diameter Difficult to form perfect Method to make uniform sphere/diameter varied spheres/discs e. Under no conditions may this document be distributed under the name of false author(s) or sold for financial gain. This document contain images and excerpts of text from educational resources available on the internet and printed books. No part of this document may be copied or re-uploaded to another website without the express. the document is solely meant for educational purposes and it is to remain a property available to all at no cost. by Emir Demirhan. horizontal line level to container curved at the table top/freestanding or bottom/difficult to line up clamped protractor Parallax error in θ Use mirror scale  General: o Error: two readings not enough o Improvement: take several readings and plot a graph © Copyright 2015 by Z Notes First edition © 2015. molds Protractor Protractor “wobbles” / Use protractor with difficult to measure. CIE AS LEVEL. written permission of the copyright owner. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4. Page 3 of 3 .