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ERROR ANALYSIS

and
GRAPH DRAWING
All experiments suffer from a certain amount of
error.
TYPES OF ERRORS:
1. SYSTEMATIC
2. RANDOM
Simple Pendulum:
2
2
4
T
l
g t =
Use of a defective stop watch which doesnt keep
proper time, leads to systematic error in g
Error in stopping and starting the watch is usually
random in nature

=
=
N
i
i
Q
N
Q
1
1
2
1
) (
1
Q Q
N
d Q
N
i
i
= = A

=
Mean value =
Error = Std.Deviation =
d Q Q =
Many measurements of the same quantity Q will
be slightly different, due to random errors. Hence
we usually quote the mean value for Q defined as
Combination of errors:
We can usually estimate the expected error in a
quantity Q which depends on measurements of
some other quantity
Example: Volume of a hemisphere
3
3
2
R V t =
3
) (
3
2
R R V V A + = A + t
R R V A = A
2
2t
2
2
|
|
.
|

\
|
A
c
c
+
|
.
|

\
|
A
c
c
= A y
y
Q
x
x
Q
Q
If a quantity Q depends on the measurement of
two other quantities x and y, then
The errors always add up, they never cancel each
other
Least Squares curve fitting:
The data generated in a experiment are plotted
graphically and the graph is then used to extract
some quantities of interest. For example the
current through a material may be plotted against
the voltage across it and the slope of the resulting
straight line gives us the Resistance of the material.
Because of random errors, there will be scatter in
the data. So how to do draw the line of best fit.
X y
-11 -16
1.1 -30
2.21 -36
3.4 -19
4.4 -4
5.52 11
6.7 30
7.85 48
8.115 80
9.122 79
10.133 83
11.141 100
12.151 113
13.156 110
14.171 106
15.185 200
Drawing of best fit straight line graph
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
-50 0 50 100 150 200
X
Y
(x
i
,y
i
)
Is this the line of best fit?
2
) ( c mx y S
i i
i
=

x m y c =
For the best fit line, the quantity
Will be a
minimum
Why?
This is the square of the error(difference), between
the expected value of y for a particular value of x,
and the actual value.
0 ) ( 2 = =
c
c

c mx y x
m
S
i i i
i
0 ) ( 2 = =
c
c

c mx y
c
S
i i
i
S is a function of m and c.
For it to be a minimum

= + = + . y Nc x m and y x x c x m
i i i i i
2
i
The second equation can be rewritten as
c x m y + =
,
showing that the best fit straight line passes through the
centroid of the points (x
i
,y
i
).

=
i
i
i
i i i i i
x y
N
y x x x m x m
1
2
( )

= +
i i i i
y x x x m y x m
2
The required values of m and c are:
( )
( )
x m y c and
x x
y x x
m
2
i
i i
=


=
i
i
i
i i i i i
x y
N
y x x x m x m
1
2
( )
( )

=
i
i i
i i
x x x
y x x
m
2
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
-50 0 50 100 150 200
X
Y
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
-50 0 50 100 150 200
X
Y
Error Bars
Least squares curve fitting can be done very easily
using packages like Excel
x y (xi-xave)*yi (xi-xave)^2
-10 -15 =(a2-a$19)*y2 =power(a2-a$19,2)
4 -20 1758.75 7733.0039
99 49 346.0625 49.878906
115 80 1845 531.87891
120 77 2160.8125 787.50391
122 79 2374.9375 903.75391
129 80 2965 1373.6289
133 83 3408.1875 1686.1289
140 80 3845 2310.0039
141 100 4906.25 2407.1289
150 90 5225.625 3371.2539
151 113 6674.0625 3488.3789
154 102 6330.375 3851.7539
156 110 7046.875 4104.0039
161 100 6906.25 4769.6289
171 106 8380.625 6250.8789
173 101 8187.3125 6571.1289
185 200 18612.5 8660.6289
=average(a2:a18) =average(b2:b18)
m=
=sum(c2:c18)/sum(d2:
d18)
c= =b19-b20*a19
How do we do least square fitting for non-linear
functions like ?
b
ax y =
Answer: Take log on both sides
x b a y log log log + =
If you plot this on a log-log graph you will get a
straight line!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 1
0.07
0.10
0.20
0.30
0.40
0.50
0.60
0.70
0.80
0.90
0.97
1 2 4 6 10 20 40 100 200 1000
100
60
0
Semi-log graphs & log graphs.
Semi-log graph (shown below) is useful if we want to fit
the data to a relation of the form y = log(x)
Point shown here is x = 3, y = 40
Semi-log is useful for relations of the type
) / exp( kT E C C
o
=
Taking log on both sides of this equation and
changing the base to 10
kT
E
C C
o
303 . 2
log log =
We use log-log graph for relations of the type:
y = ax
b

Vernier scale:
0 5 10
1 5 10 15 20
Vernier scale:
0 5 10
1 5 10 15 20
For most Vernier scales, n divisions on the vernier
scale coincide with n-1 divisions on main scale
14 15
0 1
A C B
Least count = AC = AB - BC = 1 cm (9/10) 1 cm = 0 .1 cm
In general, if the m
th
division of the vernier scale is
coinciding with the main scale, then
AC = m x 1div on main scale m x 1 div on vernier
0 m
A C B
0 m
1vsd) m(1msd = AC
|
.
|

\
|

= msd
1
1msd m
n
n
AC
msd 1 =
n
m
AC