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Probability
University of Wales Newport 2009 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
Mathematics 1
Level 4
2
The following presentation is an introduction to the Algebraic Methods part one for level 4 Mathematics. This resources is a part of the
2009/2010 Engineering (foundation degree, BEng and HN) courses from University of Wales Newport (course codes H101, H691, H620, HH37
and 001H). This resource is a part of the core modules for the full time 1
st
year undergraduate programme.

The BEng & Foundation Degrees and HNC/D in Engineering are designed to meet the needs of employers by placing the emphasis on the
theoretical, practical and vocational aspects of engineering within the workplace and beyond. Engineering is becoming more high profile, and
therefore more in demand as a skill set, in todays high-tech world. This course has been designed to provide you with knowledge, skills and
practical experience encountered in everyday engineering environments.

Contents
The Probability Distribution
Elementary Probability
Definition of Probability
The Binomial Distribution
The Mean and Standard Deviation of the Binomial Distribution
The Poisson Distribution
The Normal Distribution
Statistical Tales
Credits

In addition to the resource below, there are supporting documents which should be used in combination with this
resource. Please see:
KA Stroud & DJ Booth, Engineering Mathematics, 8
th
Editon, Palgrave 2008.
http://www.mathcentre.ac.uk/
Derive 6
Probability
3
The Probability Distribution
Before discussing the Distribution namely:
The Binomial Distribution
The Poisson Distribution
The Normal Distribution
We need first to discuss elementary probability and how to
write down probability statements and how to evaluate
them.
Probability
4
Elementary Probability
1. When an ordinary dice is thrown, each of the faces
numbered 1, 2 . . . 6 has an equal chance of falling
uppermost.
There is one chance in six of throwing a 3 so we write the
probability statement:
Pr(3) or simply P(3) = 1/6
i.e. Pr(not throwing a 3) = 5/6
i.e. Total probability = Pr(3) + Pr(no 3) = 1/6 + 5/6 = 1
Probability
5
2. When a fair coin is tossed, it may fall either as a head
(H) or as a tail (T)

i.e. We write P(H) = P(T) = 1/2
3. If we select a card at random from a pack.

Pr(Ace) = 4/52 = 1/13
Pr(No Ace) = 48/52 = 12/13
TPr = Pr(of event happ.) + Pr(event not happ.)
= 4/52 + 48/52 = 1
Probability
6
Definition of Probability
When all the equally possible occurrences have been
enumerated, the probability Pr of an event happening is the
ratio of the number of ways in which the particular event
may occur to the total number of possible occurrences.

Probability Statements.
Suppose the Pr of a machine producing a defective item is
known
then the Pr that in a random sample of eight items
produced by the machine, the Pr of not more than 2 being
defective will be given by the probability statement:
Pr(not more than 2 being defective) = P(2)
= P(0) + P(1) + P(2)
i.e. P(no defects) + P(1 defect) + P(2 defects)
7
Again the chance or probability of say at least 3 items
being defective would be given by:
P(3) = P(3) + P(4) + . . . + P(8) - - - - (A)

Or since the total Pr = 1 we could write (A) as:
P(3) = 1 [P(0) + P(1) + P(2)]
Note: This is a very useful way of writing (A) and one we
will be using regularly in our work.
Probability
8
The Binomial Distribution
Before discussing the binomial distribution we need to look
at the binomial theorem for a positive integer as a power.
(a + b)
2
= (a + b)(a + b) = a
2
+ ab + ba + b
2
= a
2
+2ab + b
2
(a + b)
3
= (a + b)(a
2
+2ab = b
2
) = a
3
+ 3a
2
b + 3ab
2
+ b
3
This can be extended and the multipliers form Pascals
triangle as below

1
1 1
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1 4 6 4 1
1 5 10 10 5 1
1 6 15 20 15 6 1
Each number is the sum of the two numbers above it.
(a+b)
0
(a+b)
1
(a+b)
2
(a+b)
3

Probability
9
The Binomial Distribution
In general the Binomial Expansion of when n is a
positive integer is given by: (binomial theorem)

n
b) (a +
n n n n n n
b b a
n n n
b a
n n
b a
n
a b a + +

+

+ + = +

...
! 3
) 2 )( 1 (
! 2
) 1 (
! 1
) (
3 3 2 2 1
Consider the expansion of ( + )
5

here a = , b = and n = 5
5 3 2 2 3 4 5 5
4
1
...
4
1
4
3
1 2 3
3 4 5
4
1
4
3
1 2
4 5
4
1
4
3
1
5
4
3
4
1
4
3
|
.
|

\
|
+ +
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|

+
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|

+
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
.
|

\
|
+
Exercise
Write down the first 3 terms of the Binomial Expansion of
( + )
6
and evaluate their values by the use of a
calculator. [ 0.4488, 0.3847, 0.1374]
Probability
10
We can now consider the Binomial Distribution
Coin tossing and dice rolling have been used as a means of
introducing probability. The consideration of how a coin
falls can conveniently illustrate some fundamental
probability theory. We must assume that we are dealing
with fair coins i.e. not two heads or coins that are in any
way biased there is one chance in two or a Pr of 0.5 of
obtaining a head and a Pr of 0.5 of obtaining a tail.
The development of the Binomial Distribution cab be
illustrated by the following simple example of coin tossing.
Consider three coins being tossed simultaneously
There are eight possible head (H) and tail (T)
combinations:
Probability
11
T T T
T T H
T H T
T H H
H T T
H T H
H H T
H H H
Now consider the probability of obtaining heads when
the coins have been tossed.
a) The probability of obtaining no heads i.e. Pr (no H)
is one chance in eight () i.e. TTT
b) The probability of obtaining 1 head i.e. Pr (1 H) is
three chances in eight () i.e. TTH, THT, HTT
c) The probability of obtaining 2 heads i.e. Pr (2 H)
is three chances in eight () i.e. THH, HTH, HHT
d) Finally the probability of obtaining 3 heads i.e. Pr
(3 H) is one chance in eight () i.e. HHH
i.e. We have a) Pr (no H) =
b) Pr (1 H) =
c) Pr (2 H) =
d) Pr (3 H) =
}
i.e. Total Probability
Pr = 1
Tossing three fair coins simultaneously
Probability
12
Now consider the binomial expansion of ( + )
Where ( + )
Probability of tails Probability of heads
i.e. Pr of Failure i.e. Pr of Success
when the coin is tossed
Pr (success) + Pr (failure) = 1
3 2 2 3 3
2
1
1 2 3
1 2 3
2
1
2
1
1 2
2 3
2
1
2
1
1
3
2
1
2
1
2
1
|
.
|

\
|

+
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|

+
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
.
|

\
|
+
= + + +
The Prs agree with those found above, namely , ,
and of obtaining no heads, 1 H, 2 H and 3 H
respectively when three coins are tossed simultaneously.
Probability
13
We could repeat this for the tossing of four coins.
It is clear that with such probability distributions (known
as binomial distributions) that the probability results can
be obtained by using the binomial distribution.

General Binomial Distribution
In the binomial distribution of
Where p = Pr of the event happening or success
q = Pr of the event not happening or failure
n = Number of tests
Where p + q = 1
Then the terms of the binomial expansion namely:

n
p) (q +
... , p q
2 1
1) n(n
p, q
1
n
, q
2 2 n 1 n n

Give the respective Prs of obtaining 0, 1, 2, 3, etc events
happening or successes.
Note the order
Probability
14
Exercises
1. A Machine produces 20% defective components. In a
random sample of 6 components.
Determine the probability that:
(a)There will be 3 defective components
(b)There will be no more than 2 defective components
(c)All the components will be non defective.
2. The probability of passing an examination is 0.7.
Determine the Pr that out of 8 students (a) just 2 (b)
more than two will pass the examination.
3. The incidence of occupational disease in an Industry is
such that the workmen have a 25% chance of
suffering from it. What is the probability that in a
random sample of 7 workmen (a) no one (b) not more
than 2 (c) at lease 3 will contract the disease.
Probability
15
1. A Machine produces 20% defective components. In a random sample of 6
components.
Determine the probability that:
(a) There will be 3 defective components
(b) There will be no more than 2 defective components
(c) All the components will be non defective.
p = Pr of the event happening or success [0.2]
q = Pr of the event not happening or failure [0.8]
n = Number of tests 

( ) ( ) 8.19% 0.0819 0.2 0.8
3 2 1
4 5 6
def) Pr(3
3 3
= =

=
Pr (2 def) = Pr (0 def) + Pr (1 def) + Pr (2 def)
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 4 5 6
0.2 0.8
2 1
5 6
0.2 0.8
1
6
8 . 0 def) 2 Pr(

+ + = s
Pr (2 def) = 0.26214 + 0.39321 + 0.24576 = 0.9011 = 90.11%
( ) % 21 . 26 2621 . 0 8 . 0 def) 0 Pr(
6
= = =
16
2. The probability of passing an examination is 0.7. Determine the Pr that out
of 8 students (a) just 2 (b) more than two will pass the examination.
p = Pr of the event happening or success [0.7]
q = Pr of the event not happening or failure [0.3]
n = Number of tests 
( ) ( ) 1.00% 0.0100 0.7 0.3
2 1
7 8
pass) Pr(2
2 6
= =

=
Pr (>2 pass) = 1 [Pr (0 pass) + Pr (1 pass) + Pr (2 pass)]
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
(

+ + = >
2 6 7 8
0.7 0.3
2 1
7 8
0.7 0.3
1
8
3 . 0 1 ) p 2 Pr( ass
Pr (>2 pass) = 1 [0.00006561 + 0.00122472 + 0.01000188]
Pr (>2 pass) = 1 0.01129 = 0.98871 = 98.87%
Probability
17
3. The incidence of occupational disease in an Industry is such that the
workmen have a 25% chance of suffering from it. What is the probability
that in a random sample of 7 workmen (a) no one (b) not more than 2 (c) at
lease 3 will contract the disease.
p = Pr of the event happening or success [0.25]
q = Pr of the event not happening or failure [0.75]
n = Number of tests 
( ) % 35 . 13 1335 . 0 75 . 0 ) d 0 Pr(
7
= = = is
Pr (not 2+ dis) = Pr (0 dis) + Pr (1 dis) + Pr (2 dis)
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 5 6 7
0.25 0.75
2 1
6 7
0.25 0.75
1
7
75 . 0 ) i 2 Pr(

+ + = s nf
Pr (2 inf) = 0.1335 + 0.3115 + 0.3115 = 0.7565 = 75.65%
Pr (3 inf) = 1 - Pr (2 inf) = 1 0.7565 = 0.2435 = 24.35%
Probability
18
The Mean and Standard Deviation of the
Binomial Distribution
The mean or average of a Binomial Distribution = n x p
The Standard Deviation SD =
Distribution about the mean value

Example
The probability of obtaining a defective resistor is given by
1/10
In a random sample of 9 resistors what is the mean number
of defective resistors you would expect and what is the
standard deviation?
Mean = n x p = 9 x 0.1 = 0.9 SD = (9x0.1x0.9) = 0.81 = 0.9
q p n =
Probability
19
The Poisson Distribution
Under certain conditions the Binomial Distribution assumes
a very convenient form. These conditions are:
1. Sample size is large n 50
2. p = Probability of event occurring is very small p 0.1
3. The mean or average is a finite number
= n p is 5
When these conditions are satisfied, it can be shown
mathematically that the binomial reduces to a convenient
form, where Pr(x) the probability of x successes or events
happening is given by:
x!

e Pr(x)
x

=
Where is the mean or average
value of the distribution.
This expression is known as the Poisson Law
20
The Poisson distribution
21
Since the Poisson Law has only one constant, namely it is
easier to tabulate than the Binomial Law which has two
independent constants, namely n and p.
For the Poisson Law the mean value like the Binomial Law
is n p i.e. = n p
Also the Standard Deviation S.D. = (n p q), since q is
nearly 1 because p is very small = (n p), = ()
In using the Poisson Law you only have to find one thing,
namely the average value before you can use it.
Note
(i) Either you will be told the value of the mean
in a given question.
Or (ii) You can calculate it by using the result = n p
Probability
22
Exercises
1. The number of defective components produced by a
machine follows a Poisson Distribution. If the machine
produces an average of 3 defective components in a
batch of 100, find the probability that in a random
batch of 100, (a) 2 (b) more than 2 components will be
defective.
p = 0.03 n = 100 = n p = 100 x 0.03 = 3
Now the probability of x defective /100 components is
given by Pr(x) in the Poisson Law which states:
x!

e Pr(x)
x

=
Probability
23
No defects

1 defect

2 defects

Questions
(a) Pr two defective Pr(2) = 0.2240 = 22.40%
(b) Pr more than 2 Pr(>2) = Pr(3)+Pr(4) + .. + Pr(100)
Pr(>2) = 1 (Pr(0)+Pr(1)+Pr(2))
Pr(>2) = 1 (0.04979+0.14936+0.22404) = 0.5768 = 57.68%

What Binomial Produce?
04979 . 0 e
1
1
e
0!
3
e Pr(0)
3 3
0
3
= = = =

14936 . 0 e 3
1
3
e
1!
3
e Pr(1)
3 3
1
3
= = = =

22404 . 0 e 5 . 4
2
9
e
2!
3
e Pr(2)
3 3
2
3
= = = =

Probability
24
p = Pr of the event happening or success [0.03]
q = Pr of the event not happening or failure [0.97]
n = Number of tests 
( ) ( ) 22.52% 0.2252 0.03 0.97
2 1
99 100
def) Pr(2
2 98
= =

=
Pr (>2 def) = 1 [Pr (0 pass) + Pr (1 pass) + Pr (2 pass)]
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
(

+ + = >
2 98 99 100
0.03 0.97
2 1
99 100
0.03 0.97
1
100
0.97 1 def) 2 Pr(
Pr (>2 def) = 1 [0.04755 + 0.14707 + 0.22515]
Pr (>2 pass) = 1 0.41977 = 0.5802 = 58.02%
Probability
25
Exercises
2. The Probability of a person having an accident in a
certain period of time is 0.001. Determine the
probability that out of 2000 people (a) just 3 occur (b)
less than 2 people will have an accident.

p = 0.001 n = 2000 = n p = 2000 x 0.001 = 2

x!

e Pr(x)
x

=
Probability
26
No accidents

1 accident

2 accidents

3 accidents
Questions
(a) Pr three accidents Pr(3) = 0.1804 = 18.04%
(b) Pr less than 2 Pr(<2) = Pr(0)+Pr(1)
Pr(<2) = 0.1353 + 0.2707 = 0.4060 = 40.6%

1353 . 0 e
1
1
e
0!
2
e Pr(0)
2 2
0
2
= = = =

2707 . 0 e 2
1
2
e
1!
2
e Pr(1)
2 2
1
2
= = = =

2707 . 0 e 2
2
4
e
2!
2
e Pr(2)
2 2
2
2
= = = =

1804 . 0 e
3
4
6
8
e
3!
2
e Pr(2)
2 2
3
2
= = = =

Probability
27
Exercises
1. The output of an automated machine is inspected by
taking samples of 60 items. If the probability of a
defective item is 0.0015, find the probability of having
(a) two defective items (b) more than two defective
items. [0.003701, 0.0001136]

2. If the probability of suffering a side effect from an
injection is 0.002, what is the probability that out of
500 people (a) three, (b) not more than two will suffer a
side effect. [0.06131, 0.91970]
Probability
28
The Normal Distribution
This was first introduced in 1750 by the mathematician
De Moivre, through probability theory.
Let us consider a simple example of his work. Suppose we
toss 10 coins simultaneously, then the expected probability
of obtaining 0, 1, 2, 3, 10 heads is given by the Binomial
Expansion of ( + )
10
.
On expansion we have:
1024
1
1024
10
1024
45
1024
120
1024
210
1024
252
1024
210
1024
120
1024
45
1024
10
1024
1
Pr(0H) Pr(1H) Pr(2H) etc
If we now plot the distribution of the throws of the 10
coins in the form of a frequency polygon, we obtain the
diagram on the next slide.
29
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
10T 0H 9T 1H 8T 2H 7T 3H 6T 4H 5T 5H 4T 6H 3T 7H 2T 8H 1T 9H 0T 10H
Bell Shaped
Curve
The distribution is symmetrical about the Mean Value of
5T 5H. If the number of coins were increased to a very
large number the distribution approximates to the
smooth curve shown on the next slide.
30
De Moivre
called this
the Normal
Curve
Since Head and Tail arrangements are discrete i.e. you
cannot have fractional values only whole numbers, like 1H
or 2H you cannot have 2H, the curve is not truly
continuous. However 50 years later Gauss obtained a truly
continuous Normal Curve.
Probability
31
He found that most things in nature gave rise to a Normal
Curve or are Normally Distributed e.g. Height of
People, Weight of People, Length of Leaves, Weight of
Beans, Length around the Forehead, and many others.
Thus a knowledge of the Normal Distribution is very
important.
Some important Properties of the Normal Distribution.
1. The equation of the curve is:

where () is the mean, is the standard deviation S.D.
Note due to the exponential the curve only touches the x
axis at . You do not need to know this equation.
2
2
2
) (
2
1
o

o t

=
x
e y
32
2. Area under the Normal Curve
Gauss Showed that the area under the Normal Curve was 1
Unit
2
.
Since the curve had been obtained through probability
theory, where the total probability = 1, there is a
connection between probability and the area under the
curve. In fact it has been shown that the probability of
an event occurring in a Normal Distribution is
equivalent to the area a Normal Curve. We will use this
in examples later.
Probability
33
3. Symmetry of the Normal Curve
For a value of plus or minus x away from the mean we have
equal areas.

~
~
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~
~
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A A
B B
-x +x
Mean
Again the areas to the
right and left of the
mean value are equal.
Since the Area under
the curve is 1 unit
2

then the areas are 0.5
each.
Probability
34
4. Dispersion or Spread of the Normal Curve
The following results are very important
-1 +1
(a) The area under the Normal
Curve contained between the
Mean 1 Standard Deviation i.e.
1 is 68.26% of the area under
the whole curve (just over 2/3)
(b) 95% of the area under the curve is contained
between 1.96 (just under 2)
(c) 99% of the area under the curve is contained
between 2.58
(d) After 3 on either side of the mean, there is
hardly any area left 0.0027
35
STATISTICAL TABLES
Area under the Normal Curve
For a normal variable x, having a mean and a standard
deviation , the values tabulated give the area under the
curve between the mean and any multiple of the
standard deviation above the mean. The results are given
for values of (x )/, the Standard Unit Variable (z), at
intervals of 0.01. The corresponding areas for deviations
below the mean can be found by symmetry.
0 z

x
z

=
Probability
36
(x - )
0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09
0.0 0.0000 0.0040 0.0080 0.0120 0.0159 0.0199 0.0239 0.0279 0.0319 0.0359
0.1 0.0398 0.0438 0.0478 0.0517 0.0557 0.0596 0.0636 0.0675 0.0714 0.0753
0.2 0.0793 0.0832 0.0871 0.0910 0.0948 0.0987 0.1026 0.1064 0.1103 0.1141
0.3 0.1179 0.1217 0.1255 0.1293 0.1331 0.1368 0.1406 0.1443 0.1480 0.1517
0.4 0.1554 0.1591 0.1628 0.1664 0.1700 0.1736 0.1772 0.1808 0.1844 0.1879
0.5 0.1915 0.1950 0.1985 0.2019 0.2054 0.2088 0.2123 0.2157 0.2190 0.2224
0.6 0.2257 0.2291 0.2324 0.2357 0.2389 0.2422 0.2454 0.2486 0.2518 0.2549
0.7 0.2580 0.2611 0.2642 0.2673 0.2704 0.2734 0.2764 0.2794 0.2823 0.2852
0.8 0.2881 0.2910 0.2939 0.2967 0.2995 0.3023 0.3051 0.3078 0.3106 0.3133
0.9 0.3159 0.3186 0.3212 0.3238 0.3264 0.3289 0.3315 0.3340 0.3365 0.3389
1.0 0.3413 0.3438 0.3461 0.3485 0.3508 0.3531 0.3554 0.3577 0.3599 0.3621
1.1 0.3643 0.3665 0.3686 0.3708 0.3729 0.3749 0.3770 0.3790 0.3810 0.3830
1.2 0.3849 0.3869 0.3888 0.3907 0.3925 0.3944 0.3962 0.3980 0.3997 0.4015
1.3 0.4032 0.4049 0.4066 0.4082 0.4099 0.4115 0.4131 0.4147 0.4162 0.4177
1.4 0.4192 0.4207 0.4222 0.4236 0.4251 0.4265 0.4279 0.4292 0.4306 0.4319
1.5 0.4332 0.4345 0.4357 0.4370 0.4382 0.4394 0.4406 0.4418 0.4430 0.4441
1.6 0.4452 0.4463 0.4474 0.4485 0.4495 0.4505 0.4515 0.4525 0.4535 0.4545
1.7 0.4554 0.4564 0.4573 0.4582 0.4591 0.4599 0.4608 0.4616 0.4625 0.4633
1.8 0.4641 0.4649 0.4656 0.4664 0.4671 0.4678 0.4686 0.4693 0.4699 0.4706
1.9 0.4713 0.4719 0.4726 0.4732 0.4738 0.4744 0.4750 0.4756 0.4762 0.4767
2.0 0.4772 0.4778 0.4783 0.4788 0.4793 0.4798 0.4803 0.4808 0.4812 0.4817
2.1 0.4821 0.4826 0.4830 0.4834 0.4838 0.4842 0.4846 0.4850 0.4854 0.4857
2.2 0.4861 0.4865 0.4868 0.4871 0.4875 0.4878 0.4881 0.4884 0.4887 0.4890
2.3 0.4893 0.4896 0.4898 0.4901 0.4904 0.4906 0.4909 0.4911 0.4913 0.4916
2.4 0.4918 0.4920 0.4922 0.4925 0.4927 0.4929 0.4931 0.4932 0.4934 0.4936
2.5 0.4938 0.4940 0.4941 0.4943 0.4945 0.4946 0.4948 0.4949 0.4951 0.4952
2.6 0.4953 0.4955 0.4956 0.4957 0.4959 0.4960 0.4961 0.4962 0.4963 0.4964
2.7 0.4965 0.4966 0.4967 0.4968 0.4969 0.4970 0.4971 0.4972 0.4973 0.4974
2.8 0.4974 0.4975 0.4976 0.4977 0.4977 0.4978 0.4979 0.4980 0.4980 0.4981
2.9 0.4981 0.4982 0.4983 0.4983 0.4984 0.4984 0.4985 0.4985 0.4986 0.4986
3.0 0.49865 0.4987 0.4987 0.4988 0.4988 0.4989 0.4989 0.4989 0.4990 0.4990
3.1 0.49903 0.4991 0.4991 0.4991 0.4992 0.4992 0.4992 0.4992 0.4993 0.4993
3.2 0.49931 0.4993 0.4994 0.4994 0.4994 0.4994 0.4994 0.4995 0.4995 0.4995
3.3 0.49952 0.4995 0.4995 0.4996 0.4996 0.4996 0.4996 0.4996 0.4996 0.4997
3.4 0.49966 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4997 0.4998
3.5 0.49977
37
Use of the Normal Curve and Normal Probability Tables
Suppose a variable is normally distributed about a mean
value of 10 with a standard deviation of 0.5.
Suppose we want to find the probability of a variable in
the distribution having a value between 10.7 and 11.2
To do this we need to find the
corresponding area under the
normal curve. (As shown)
This can be done by standardising
the given values of 10.7 and 11.2
we evaluate each as a
Standard Unit Variable z where

x
z

=
Probability
38
When x = 10.7

When x = 11.2
40 . 1
5 . 0
7 . 0
5 . 0
10 7 . 10

x
z = =

=
40 . 2
5 . 0
2 . 1
5 . 0
10 2 . 11

x
z = =

=
We can now refer to the Table using the values of z of
1.40 and 2.40.
The area between 10.7 and 11.2 will be the area up to 11.2
minus the area up to 10.7
Area = z
2.40
z
1.40

= 0.4918 0.4192
= 0.0726
7.26% of all the variables in this Normal Distribution lie
between x = 10.7 and x = 11.2

Probability
39
Since all the probability questions in a Normal Distribution
are equivalent to areas under the Normal Curve (which can
be obtained from the table) let us now look at a few
examples in evaluating areas under the Normal Curve.
Example 1.
Find the area under the normal curve between z = -1.36
and z = 0.85 or z
-1.36
and z
0.85
A
B
Putting in the Normal Curve
gives us:
Area A 0 -1.36 A = 0.4131
Area B 0 +0.85 B = 0.3023
Total Area = 0.7154
40
Example 2.
Find the area between z
-2.14
and z
-0.93
Area A -2.14 -0.93
A
-2.14
= 0.4838
A
-0.93
= 0.3238
Area = A
-2.14
A
-0.93

Total Area = 0.1600
What are the areas below the Normal Curve?
(1) Between z
1.04
and z
2.36
[0.1401]
(2) Between z
-0.31
and z
1.52
[0.5574]
(3) Area to the left of z
-1.42
[0.0778]
41
Practical Problems on the Normal Distribution
1. The mean of the mass of a set of components is
151Kg and the standard deviation is 15Kg. Assuming that
the masses are normally distributed about the mean, find
the probability of a single component having a mass of (a)
between 120 and 155Kg and (b) greater than 186Kg.
(a) = 151Kg and = 15Kg we need to calculate z for
each value at the extremes of the range.
When x = 120Kg z
1
= (120 151)/15 = -2.07
When x = 155Kg z
2
= (155 151)/15 = 0.27
Probability
42
Pr mass between 120Kg and
155Kg is the sum of the areas
to the left and the right of
the centre.
Area = 0.4808 + 0.1064
Area = Pr = 0.5872
(b) To find Pr mass >185Kg z = (185 151)/15 = 2.27
Pr of having a mass >185 is the
shaded area.
This is 0.5 z
2.27
Area = 0.5 0.4884
Area = 0.0116
Probability
43
Practical Problems on the Normal Distribution
2. The lengths of rods held in stock have a mean of 4.5
m with a standard deviation of 0.05. The distribution
of lengths is normal. If the total stock is 1000 rods,
how many of the rods can be expected to have (a) a
length between 4.5 and 4.6 m and (b) a length less
than 4.4 m?
Note The number of rods = Pr x total number of rods.

(a) = 4.5 m and = 0.05 m we need to calculate z for
each value at the extremes of the range.
When x = 4.5 m z
1
= (4.5 4.5)/0.05 = 0.00
When x = 4.6 m z
2
= (4.6 4.5)/0.05 = 2.00
The probability of the rod length being between 4.5 and
4.6 m is shown in the diagram on the next slide.
44
Pr = Area = 0.477.2
Number of rods equals
0.4772 x 1000 = 477 rods
(b) To find the number of rods < 4.4 m
z = (4.4 4.5)/0.05 = -2.00
Pr of having a length < 4.4 is
the shaded area.
This is 0.5 z
-2.00
Area = 0.5 0.4772
Area = 0.0228 = 23 rods
45
Examples
1. The mean braking load of a sample of concrete blocks
was found to be 600N with a standard deviation of
45N. If the loads are normally distributed, calculate
the Pr that another block would have a braking load of
(a) between 585 and 610 N [0.2164]
(b) less than 540N [0.0918]
2. The mean percentage moisture content of a series of
500 test samples of a particular cement mix after a
certain time was found to be 27.5% with a standard
deviation of 0.5%. Assuming the distribution is normal,
find how many of the test samples have a moisture
content below 27.1% 
Probability
46
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Probability