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Prof S.Lakshminarayana,M.Tech.,Ph.D.,

The "goodness" of measurements involves

several important concepts. Some of the more

significant of these are:

Error,

Validity,

Reliability,

Repeatability,

Accuracy,

Precision,

Resolution.

1. Error

In all measurements there is a certain degree of error present.

The word error in this context refers to normal random variation

and in no way means "mistakes" or "blunders.

measurement is indicated by the size of X.

Xo is the true value.

(Xo) by a certain amount ( X),

If measurements are made repeatedly on the same

parameter (which is truly unchanging),

or if different instruments or instrument operators are

used to make successive measurements.

X = Absolute error.

Xi = Measured Value

Xo = True steady state value.

X = Xi Xo

If X 0, XiXo

Relative Error

Percentage Error

Errors in Measurement

Systems

value of a physical quantity. The accuracy of measuring

system is measured in terms of error.

Errors may be positive (Reading higher value) or negative

(reading lower value).

TYPES OF ERRORS.

1. Errors due to calibration

2. Human Errors.

3. Loading Error.

4. Environmental Error. (Temperature)

5. Random Error.

6. Instrument Error.

difference in magnitude between measured and

true values (often expressed as a percentage of

the full-scale value).

2. Precision: The ability of the instrument to

repeat

the

measurement

of

a

constant

measurand. More precise measurements have

3. Resolution: The smallest possible increment

less random error.

discernible between measured values. As the term is

used, higher resolution means smaller increments.

Thus, an instrument with a five-digit display (say,

0.0000 to 9.9999) is said to have higher resolution

than an otherwise identical instrument with a threedigit display (say, 0.00 to 9.99). (Subject to the

condition that the source has the required

resolution)

The average is close

to the center but the

individual values are

not similar.

ACCURACY AND PRECISION?

actual value of the quantity being measured". If in reality it is 34.0 F

outside and a temperature sensor reads 34.0 F, then than sensor is

accurate.

Precision is defined as, "(1) The ability of a measurement to be

consistently reproduced" and "(2) The number of significant digits to

which a value has been reliably measured". If on several tests the

temperature sensor matches the actual temperature while the actual

temperature is held constant, then the temperature sensor is precise. By

the second definition, the number 3.1415 is more precise than the

number 3.14

a lab refrigerator holds a constant temperature of 38.0 F. A temperature

sensor is tested 10 times in the refrigerator. The temperatures from the

test yield the temperatures of: 39.4, 38.1, 39.3, 37.5, 38.3, 39.1, 37.1, 37.8,

38.8, 39.0. This distribution shows no tendency toward a particular

value (lack of precision) and does not acceptably match the actual

temperature (lack of accuracy).

An example of a sensor with GOOD accuracy and BAD precision:

Suppose a lab refrigerator holds a constant temperature of 38.0 F. A

temperature sensor is tested 10 times in the refrigerator. The

temperatures from the test yield the temperatures of: 37.8, 38.3, 38.1,

38.0, 37.6, 38.2, 38.0, 38.0, 37.4, 38.3. This distribution shows no

impressive tendency toward a particular value (lack of precision) but

each value does come close to the actual temperature (high accuracy).

Suppose a lab refrigerator holds a constant temperature of 38.0 F. A temperature

sensor is tested 10 times in the refrigerator. The temperatures from the test yield the

temperatures of : 39.2, 39.3, 39.1, 39.0, 39.1, 39.3, 39.2, 39.1, 39.2, 39.2. This

distribution does show a tendency toward a particular value (high precision) but every

measurement is well off from the actual temperature (low accuracy).

An example of a sensor with GOOD accuracy and GOOD precision:

Suppose a lab refrigerator holds a constant temperature of 38.0 F. A temperature

sensor is tested 10 times in the refrigerator. The temperatures from the test yield the

temperatures of: 38.0, 38.0, 37.8, 38.1, 38.0, 37.9, 38.0, 38.2, 38.0, 37.9. This

distribution does show a tendency toward a particular value (high precision) and is

very near the actual temperature each time (high accuracy).

The goal of any instrument is to have high accuracy (sensor matching reality as close

as possible) and to also have a high precision (being able to consistently replicate

results and to measure with as many significant digits as appropriately possible).

Instruments, including radar, need to be calibrated in order that they sustain high

accuracy and high precision.

Statistical Analysis:

1. Arithmetic mean :

The arithmetic mean, the average of number of readings taken. The best

approximation will be made when the number of readings of the same

quantity is very large. Theoretically an infinite number of readings

would give the best result, although in practice only a finite number of

measurements can be made. The arithmetic mean is given by

2. Mean Deviation

from the arithmetic mean of the group of

readings. If the deviation of the first reading x1

is d1, and that of the second reading x2 is called

d2 and so on then the deviation from the mean

can be expressed as

positive or a negative value and the algebric

sum of all deviation must be zero.

3. Average Deviation D

the instrument used in making the measurements.

Highly precise instrument will yield a low average

deviation between readings.

So average deviation is the sum of the absolute values

of the deviation divided by the number of readings. The

absolute value of the deviation is the value without

respect to sign. Average deviation may be expressed as

4. Standard Deviation

The standard deviation of an infinite number of data is the Square

root of the sum of all the individual deviations squared, divided by

the number of readings.

It is represented by and it is also known as root mean square

deviation. Mathematically it is given by

Variance

Variance or mean square deviation is same as the

standard deviation except that the square root is

not obtained.

Therefore

Variance (v) = mean square deviation = 2

variance are used in many computations because

variances are additive.

PROBABILITY OF ERRORS

VOLTAGE MEASUREMENTS

Mains voltage is measured with a digital voltmeter to the nearest to 0.1 V at short

time intervals. The data are presented in table 1.2. The nominal value of the

measured voltage is 220 V. The data are presented in the histogram of Fig. 1.4.

The ordinate represents the number of observed readings (frequency of

occurrence) of a particular value. It is also called the frequency distribution curve.

VOLTAGE MEASUREMENTS

TABLE 1.2

(i) The largest number of readings (20) have their values at the central value of

220.0 V. Other readings are situated symmetrically. Small errors are more

probable than large errors.

(ii) The tendency of the curve indicates that if more readings were taken at smaller

interval, the curve remains symmetrical. Only the contour of the histogram

would become smooth. There is an equal probability of positive and negative

errors.

(iii) The bell shaped curve is called the Gaussian distribution curve.

(iv) A sharp and narrow distribution curve enables the observer to state that the

most probable value of the true value is the central value.

PROBABIE ERROR

The Gaussian distribution curve as a function of standard deviation is shown in

Fig. 1.5. When a large number of readings are taken, the relation is given by

= Number of readings at any given deviation x,

(the probability of deviation).

treated as the limiting form of the histogram of Fig. 1.4. The area under the error

distribution curve between the limits + and - represents the entire number of

observations. The area under the curve + and - represents the case that differ

from the mean by no more than the standard deviation (a). The area under the

curve between the limits + and - a gives the total number of measurements with

in these limits. About 68 percent of all the cases lie between the limits + and -

from the mean. Hence, the more probable error is taken as 0.6745 .

measurement of nominally 100 pf capacitors. When a large no. of

measurements are taken, the mean value is found to be 100.00 pF.

This means that 68 percent of capacitors have values which lie

between limits of + 0.20pf of the mean. This indicates that if a

capacitor is selected from a lot of capacitors at random, there is

then approximated two to one chance that the value of the capacitor

selected lies between the limits of 0.20pf.

Probable error r 0.6745

Stability : The ability of a measurement system to maintain its

performance over prolonged periods of time is called stability. If a

system is highly stable, it need not be calibrated frequently.

Frequent calibration is required for less stable instruments.

Zero Stability : It indicates the ability of an instrument to restore to

zero reading after the input is made zero, while other conditions

remain the same.

Resolution : It is the smallest change of input to which the

measuring system responds. If a digital instrument has a read out of

9999, its resolution is 1 in 99999.

Accuracy and resolution are not the same.

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