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Original Title: MEC 100 CHAPTER 4 (Engineering Estimation & Approximation)

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Approximations

SITI MARDINI HASHIM

mardinih@ppinang.uitm.edu.my

ROOM 3.26

Chapter Outline

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Significant Digits

4.3 Accuracy and Precision

4.4 Types of Errors and Error Analysis

4.5 Engineering Estimations

4.1 Introduction

Engineers are problem solvers

Engineers design to satisfy a need and improve the living

standard

Example; water is hot

Hot for bath?

Hot for drinking?

Too hot, not very hot, etc?

physical quantities pertaining to product or system and

environment.

Skill in making and interpreting

measurements is an essential element

Objectives

Learn the differences in:

Accuracy/precision,

Random/systematic error,

Uncertainty/error

Compute true, fractional, and percent error

Use proper number of significant figures to report

work

Significant Digits

quantities, e.g., length of rod, mass of rock, velocity of a

vehicle, etc. All type of numbers.

L

Integer (exact) numbers represent discrete quantities, e.g.,

number of marbles, number of people, number of

computers, etc. For example, 65, 7, and 756 are

Significant Digits

used in writing a number, except:

those zeros that are used only for location of the decimal

point or

those zeros that do not have any nonzero digit on their left.

Significant figures are extremely important when reporting a

numerical value.

The number of significant figures used indicates the

confidence (certainty) of that value.

Significant Digits

How many?

Number known to:

1 part per 10

etc.

etc.

Significant Digits

is accepted to have some error.

If length = 7.58 cm

exact

required to place decimal points.

Significant Digits

express a degree of confidence in a number.

A significant digit or figure is any digit used in a

number except:

as:

0.05

0.0003

0.002300

Zeros that do not have any nonzero digits on their

left, such as:

0.5

0.515

0.25

Accuracy

Example:

A chemistry instructor makes a 5.00% sugar

solution. Using a sugar test, a team of students

analyzes the solution and reports the following

results:

Student

Result

A

5.03%

B

4.96%

C

2.98%

Precision

Precision - repeatability of the measurement

indicates scatter in the data

Example:

A chemistry instructor makes a 5.00% sugar solution.

Using a sugar assay, a team of students analyzes the

solution in triplicate and reports the following results:

Students

Results

A

5.03%, 4.97%, 5.07%

B

4.49%, 5.52%, 5.01%

C

2.98%, 7.98%, 9.23%

Measurements

Measurements can be reported as a value plus or

minus a number

Example;

32.30.2

32.3, 32.1 and 32.5 are acceptable

220 oF with 1%

Accuracy 2.2 oF

4.4 Errors

Errors

calculated (reported) value and the true value.

Engineers recognize that errors are present in

their professional lives and must be able to:

1. Identify types of errors

2. Numerically express the magnitude of errors

3. Recognize the confidence that may be

placed in a printed number

with a standard meter stick.

Spend 5 minutes as a team completing this

exercise:

What can be said about the length of the rod is

reported as:

7 to 8 cm

7.5 to 7.6 cm

7.57 to 7.59 cm?

Systematic Errors

recognized to some regular outside

occurrence.

Engineers must be aware of the presence of

systematic errors and eliminate those possible

and try to calculate and correct for those

remaining.

be corrected if the source and magnitude are

known.

or reduce systematic errors.

Measuring 1200 m with 25 m steel tape

If the tape is not exactly 25.000m, there will be

systematic errors 48 times due to :

Temperature effect;

Tension difference when measuring tapes

Smoothness of the surface can be different

Random Errors

random nature.

The presence of accidental errors is evident by the

scatter in measured data.

It is impossible to predict the magnitude and sign of

the accidental error present in any one measurement.

Repeating measurements and averaging the results

will reduce the random error in the average.

its use can reduce the magnitude of error

Awareness of the problem, knowledge of

the degree of precision of the equipment,

skill with measurement procedures, and

proficiency in the use of statistics allow us

to estimate the magnitude of error

Definitions

error:

2. Fractional error = True error / True value

3. Percent error = Fractional error * 100%

Example:

Calculate the true error, fractional error and

percent error for:

Reported Value

Correct Value

Distance

Distance

feet

feet

109

100

1050

1000

45

50

17

20

4.5 Approximations

Approximation

Engineers strive for high-level precision

Also, it is important to be aware of an acceptable

precision and the time and cost of attaining it

Engineers are expected to make an approximation

to the solution before time and funds invested to

increase accuracy

Engineers rely on their basic understanding of the

problem under discussion coupled with their

previous experience

Approximation

The accuracy of these estimates depends on:

1. Consequences/cost of error,

2. Available reference materials,

3. Time allotted for estimate,

4. Experience with similar problems.

Example

Estimate the number of paper

clips that will fit in a box 16cm by

10cm by 12cm

(1 paper clip = 1.5cm by 1cm by 0.2cm)

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