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# Propagation of Uncertainty

1.
b)
c)
d)
e)
2.

Rewrite the following measurements in their clearest forms, with appropriate significant digits:
a) Height = 5.03 0.04329 m 5.03 0.04
time = 1.5432 1 s 1.5 1s
charge = 3.21 1019 2.67 1020 C -3.21 0.26 * 1019 C
wavelength = 0.000,000,563 0.000,000,07 m 5.60.7*10-17m
momentum = 3.267 103 42 gcm/s. 3.270.04*103g cm/s
In an experiment to check conservation of angular momentum, a student obtains the results shown in the table below for
the initial and final angular momentum (L and L) of a rotating system. The extra column to the table is for indicating the
difference L L and its uncertainty. Using the provisional rule for uncertainty in calculating a difference between two
numbers, are the students results consistent with conservation of angular momentum?
Initial and final
momenta (in kgm2/s)
Initial L
Final L
3.0 0.3
2.7 0.6
7.4 0.5
8.0 1
14.3 1
16.5 1
25 2
24 2
32 2
31 2
37 2
41 2

4.

Difference with
uncertainties

3.

6 0.9
15.4 1.5
31 2
49 4
63 4
78 4

## Determine graphically if conservation of angular momentum is

confirmed by data collected in the experiment above. Plot final
angular momentum L against initial angular momentum L. Include
vertical and horizontal error bars, as well as the origin. Use graph
paper and, as always, label the axes with units and choose an
appropriate scale in order to use a good proportion of the graph paper.
On what curve would you expect the data to lie. Do they lie on this
curve within experimental uncertainties?

The velocity of a stone dropped vertically is measured after having fallen seven different distances. The data are shown
below. a) Using graph paper, determine and plot the appropriate independent and dependent variables and determine the
relationship of v to h graphically. b) After developing a linear plot, with error bars, draw the minimum and maximum
slopes that seem to fit the data (with uncertainties) reasonably well. Are the results consistent with the accepted value for
g (9.81 m/s2)?
h(m) 0.05
v(m/s)

0.4
2.60.5

0.8
4.10.4

1.4
5.00.3

2.0
6.20.3

2.6
6.70.3

3.4
7.90.3

3.8
8.50.3

5.

The relationship of period (T) to length (L) of a pendulum is tested for six different pendulum lengths. Using graph paper,
determine and plot the appropriate independent and dependant variables and determine the relationship of T to L
graphically. After developing a linear plot, with error bars, draw the minimum and maximum slopes that seem to fit the
data (with uncertainties) reasonably well. Extra Credit: Are the results consistent with the accepted value for g (9.81
m/s2)?
L(cm) (0.5 cm) 75.0
55.0
43.3
28.0
13.8
5.5
T(s)
1.720.0
1.490.05 1.33.05 1.06.0
0.75.0
0.510.06
5
6
6

6.

## Compute the fractional uncertainties for the measurements in problem 1.

7.

Convert the percent errors below into absolute uncertainties and rewrite the results in the standard form xbest x.
(a) x = 543.2 m 4%

## (b) = 65.9 8% (c)

= 671 109 4%

Propagation of Uncertainty

## Due in class on Tuesday 9/8

8.

(a) A digital voltmeter reads voltages to the nearest thousandth of a volt. What will be its percent uncertainty in
measuring across a circuit of approximately 3 volts? (b) A digital balance reads masses to the nearest hundredth of a
gram. What will be its percent uncertainty in measuring a mass of approximately 8 grams? In measuring a mass of 0.5
grams? 0.1 grams?

9.

(a) A student measures two quantities a and b and obtains the results a = 11.5 0.2 cm and b = 25.4 0.2 cm. Calculate
the product q = ab and calculate both its percent and absolute uncertainties using the provisional rule for uncertainty in
multiplication. (b) Repeat part (a) using a = 5.0 m 7% and b = 3.0 N 1%.

10. Two quantities are measured to be a = 10 1 N and b = 272 1 s. Calculate the product q = ab and calculate both its
percent and absolute uncertainties using the provisional rule for uncertainty in multiplication. (b) Repeat part (a) using a
= 3.0 ft 8% and b = 4.0 lb 2%.
11. (a) A student makes two measurements to get x and y as
x = 10 1
and y = 20 1.
What is the best estimate for the product q = xy? Using the largest probable values for x and y (11 and 21),
calculate the largest probable value of q. Similarly, find the smallest probable value , and hence the range in which
q probably lies. Compare these results with that derived by application of the provisional rule for multiplication.
b) Do the same for the measurements
X = 10 8
and
y = 20 15.
What assumption is violated in this application of the provisional rule for combining uncertainty in division?