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explain the difference between curve fitting and interpolation

decide whether curve fitting or interpolation should be used for a particular application

interpolate values between data points using linterp and interp with cspline.

fit equations using line, regress, linfit, and genfit.

Background

Thermophysical and transport property data are often needed in engineering calculations. Quantities such as he

capacities, thermal conductivities, diffusivities, densities, and viscosities are measured experimentally and the results

are found in handbooks and journal articles. Usually, the data are not published for every condition that may be

experienced in real life problems. For example, vapor pressures might be published for at 310 K and 320 K, but you may

need the value at 315 K. In such situations, two options are available: interpolating and curve fitting.

Interpolation is determining a new point between two existing points. For example, if I measured the heat capacity to

be 10 J/mol/K at 300K and 20 J/mol/K at 310 K, I might reasonably estimate the heat capacity at 305 K to be 15

J/mol/K.

Curve Fitting is determining a function that closely matches the data. For example, the data may look like a straight

line, so we can determine the slope and intercept that gives a line that matches the data the best. The Antoine Equation

is a familiar function that "fits" the temperature dependence of vapor pressures well.

A few notes:

1. Interpolation can really be thought of as a special case of curve fitting where the function is forced to pass through

every data point.

2. Interpolation is generally done linearly or with cubic splines. Cubic splines means a third-order polynomial is

generated connecting the points rather than a straight line.

3. Extrapolation is defined as predicting values data beyond the range of the available data. For example, vapor

pressures were measured at 310 K and 320 K, I could interpolate to obtain a value for a value between 310 K and

320 K, but I would be extrapolating if I used the same points to obtain a value for 305 K or 325 K. Thus, the

uncertainties are greater for extrapolated values compared to interpolated values.

4. You generally use curve fitting when you know a function that matches the data well. When you don't know a

function, you interpolate. (Functions for fitting can come from simple observation, experience, trial and error, or

theory.

2. Interpolating

Demonstration

Consider the following time/temperature measured in an experiment data. I would like to know the values of the

temperature at all times, not just the whole minutes.

0 298

1 300

2 300

3 305

Time min Temp

4 305

K

5 310

6 312

7 318

8 317

9 322

Linear Interpolation

Linear interpolation is done by using the linterp function which has three arguments. It takes the form:

y new := linterp(xdata,ydata,x new).

Key Points:

1. The last argument of linterp is the value of x at which you want to estimate y.

2. The last argument can be a variable if a function is defined. This allows you to use the

interpolation over and over which is useful for graphing or integrating data.

Instead of using a line to interpolate between data points, a cubic polynomial may be used to connect the points.

This is done by using the interp and cspline functions.

Visualization

340

Temp

Temp_linterp( t)

Temp_spline ( t)

298

0 Time t t 600

3. Curve Fitting

Background

line (or slope and intercept)

regress

linfit

genfit

Each utility can fit certain types of equations. line will return the slope and intercept of the linear relationship

that best fit the data. regress is used to return the polynomial that best represents the data. linfit may be

used to fit data to expressions which are linear combinations of functions. genfit may be used to fit data to

functions of any type.

Each fitting method can fit the functions of those above it in the list. For example, regress can do the same

thing that line can because a line is just a 1st order polynomial. Since a line is also a linear combination of

functions, linfit can also be used. Genfit can be used in any case.

Syntax

line ( xdata ydata)

Demonstration

Determine the best fit line to the time/temperature data used above.

0

0

0 0

0 298

1 60

1 300

2 120

2 300

3 180

3 305

Time 4 240 s Temp 4 305 K

5 300

5 310

6 360

6 312

7 420

7 318

8 480

8 317

9 540

9 322

Intercept

Slope

Question: What are the units on the intercept and the slope?

Key Points:

1. The arguments to the line function must be dimensionless.

2. You must determine the units yourself.

Key Point: You don't need to remove the units on the input data if you use slope and intercept

instead of line.

Visualization

340

Temp

Temp_linterp( t)

Temp_spline ( t)

Temp_linear( t)

296.4

0 Time t t 600

Syntax

vs := regress(xdata,ydata,order_of_polynomial) interp(vs,xdata,ydata,xnew)

Demonstration

The heat capacity of water as a function of temperatures has been measured in a calorimeter. The data are

found in the matrices below. Fit the data to a fourth order polynomial.

D

0 1

0 273.15 7.617104

kmol 1000mol

1 293.15 7.536104

2 313 15 7 534104

2 313.15 7.534 104

3 333.15 7.536104

4 353.15 7.556104 0 1 J

Tempexp D K Cpexp D

5 373.15 7.595104 kmol K

6 393.15 7.653104

7 413.15 7.725104

8 433.15 7.813104

9 453.15 ...

The regress function will give the coefficients of each term in the polynomial.

Key Point: The output of regress is a matrix. The first three rows are NOT the coefficients, they

are values needed if interp is going to be used. The fourth row is the coefficient on the x0 term

(the constant) The fifth row is the coefficient on the x1 term. The last row is the coefficient on

the xn term.

Question: What are the units on the temperature and heat capacity?

Tempexp Cpexp t J

Cpregress( t) interp vs

K mol K J

K J

Cpregress( 350 K)

mol K mol K

Can create your own function to use units.

2 3

t

4

t t t

Cpregress( t) vs vs vs vs vs

J

Cpregress( 350K)

J

3 4 K 5 K 6 K 7 K mol K mol K

90.968

Cpexp

Cpregress( t)

75.228

270 Tempexp t 540

Often, the expression we wish to use to fit the data is not a polynomial but a linear combination of functions. A linear

combination of functions is one where each term only has one fitting parameter. For example,

y = A B sin( x ) C exp( x )

is a linear combination of functions. Only one fitting parameter is found in each term and they are multiplying the term.

The following are NOT linear combinations of functions.

y = A B sin( x C) D exp

x

y = A sin( B x ) C exp( x )

E

In the first expression, B is inside the sine function. Thus, the B dependence is not linear. In the second equation,

multiple fitting parameters appear in the last two terms.

Syntax

term1

F( x ) =

term2

= linfit( xdata ydata F)

term_n

The terms in the F(x) matrix are the functional forms of each term without the coefficient. For example, if the

function to fits is

y = A B sin( x ) C exp( x )

term1 would be 1, term2 would be sin(x) and term3 would be exp(x).

Demonstration

Experimental data for the liquid density of acetone is found in the matrices below. Fit this data to the following

expression.

2 4

0.35 3 3

Y = A B 1 C 1 D 1 where

T T T 1 T

TC TC TC TC

E

D

0 1

TC 508.2

0 183.15 15.679

1 198.15 15.406

0 1 kmol

2 216.97 15.062 Tempexp D K exp D

3

3 223.15 14.943 m

4 233.15 14.752

5 234.79 14.736

6 243.15 14.561

7 253.15 14.37

8 255.7 14.345

9 263.15 ...

Key Point: Linfit does not like units on its input data so divide them out.

2 4

0.35 3 3

kmol

( t) 1 1 1 1

t t t t

0 1 TC K 2 TC K 3 TC K 4 TC K

m3

Key Point: Put in the units explicitly when you define the function.

4

1.574 10

exp

( t)

3

6.435 10

180 Tempexp t 505

When the function to fit is not a line, polynomial, or linear combination, you must use genfit.

Key Point: Only use genfit if you have to, genfit requires good guesses and it is easier to make errors with genfit.

Syntax

y( x)

y( x )

0

guessA0

y( x )

g ( x ) = guessA1

1 guess =

= genfit xdata ydata guess g

guessAn

y( x )

n

Demonstration

Experimental data for the vapor pressure of acetone is contained in the matrices below. Fit the data to the

Antoine Equation:

B

ln( Psat) = A

TC

D 0 1

0 1 Tempexp D K Psatexp D Pa

0 203.65 58.928

1 212.45 119.72

2 234.05 797.13

3 243.25 1.581103

4 253.34 3.48103

5 259.18 4.267103

6 262.12 5.182103

7 282.23 1.484104

8 265.04 6.005103

9 267.05 ...

The Antoine Equation must be fit using genfit. The first thing needed is the partial derivatives of the

function with respect to each parameter (constant). You can do the derivatives in your head or

using Mathcad.

aone

azero

t atwo

Partial Derivatives of RHS of Antoine Equation. Key Point: If you use Mathcad to do the derivatives,

you cannot use [ notation for the subscripts.

d aone

azero t a 1

dazero two

d aone 1

zero t a a

a

daone two two t

d aone aone

azero t a

datwo two

2

atwo t

Create the g(x,a) matrix. (Note: this doesn't have to be called g.)

aone

azero

t atwo

1

g ( t a) 1

atwo t

aone

2

atwo t

Key Points:

1. Genfit requires a the constants be a matrix variable. Use [

notation.

2. One common mistake is to interchange the t and the a order

when defining g(t,a). This must not be done.

Key Point: You should have a guess value for each constant in your

equation.

50

ag 3000

50

Key Points:

1. If genfit doesn't converge, try a new guess value.

2. Notice that the y data is ln(Psat) as required by the original

equation.

3. You cannot have units on the data so divide them out.

4. The last argument in genfit is the name of the matrix containing

the partial derivatives. Do not put g(t,a); it is just g.

Check the fit by plotting Key Point: You must always check to make sure the fit is good by

plotting. If it doesn't fit well, change your guess and ensure you did

not make a mistake.

6

4.731 10

Psatexp

Psat( t)

38.066

200 Tempexp t 510

Extra Practice

Fit the data given in the matrices below to the following expression.

y ( x ) = 0 cos 1 x 2 x 3

1 2

2 1

X Y

3 3

4 2

5 4

6 3

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