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# Matti Mendoza

## Accuracy Precision Errors  Precision

Interpolation and Significant Figures  ➔ The agreement between
repeated measures of the

same sample
Accuracy
➔ Usually expressed as a
➔ It is the closeness of a
standard deviation
measured value to the true

value.
➔ For example, the measured  For example, the precision of a
density of water has become  method for measuring arsenic (As)
more accurate with improved  was determined by measuring 7
experimental design,  different solutions each containing
technique, and equipment.  14.3 μg/L of As.

3​
Density of H​2​O at 20° C​ (​ g/cm​ )

1  Measured Concentration
1.0  (μg/L)
1.00  18.4
0.998  13.6
0.9982  13.6
0.99820  14.2
0.998203  16.0
13.6
➔ Percent error is used to  17.8
estimate the accuracy of a
measurement.
Average = 15.3 μg/L
Standard Deviation = 2.1 μg/L

What is the true concentration of As

in this experiment?
➔ Percent error will ALWAYS be  14.3 μg/L
POSITIVE
Estimate the accuracy of this
What is the percent error if the  method.
measured density of titanium (Ti) is
4.45 g/cm​3​ and the accepted
density of Ti is 4.50 g/cm​3​?  How precise is this method?
2.1 μg/L

Matti Mendoza

## Systematic error can be

corrected.

Accurate &  ➔ Random (or indeterminate)
Precise   errors are caused by the
natural uncertainty that
occurs with any measurement.

➔ Random errors obey the laws
of probability. That is, random
error might cause a value to
be over predicted during its
first measurement and under
Precise
predicted during its second

measurement. Random error
cannot be corrected.

Interpolation & Significant Figures

➔ By convention, a measurement
Accurate  is recorded by writing all
exactly known numbers and 1
number which is uncertain,
together with a unit label.
➔ All numbers written in this way,
including the uncertain digit,
are called significant figures.

Not accurate
and not precise

Errors
➔ Systematic (or determinate)  ➔ For example, the blue line is
errors are reproducible and  2.73 cm long. This
cause a bias in the same  measurement has 3 significant
direction for each  figures. The first 2 digits (2.7
measurement.  cm) are exactly known. The
third digit (0.03 cm) is uncertain
➔ For example, a poorly trained  because it was interpolated or
operator that consistently  estimated 1 digit beyond the
makes the same mistake will  smallest graduation.
cause systematic error.
Matti Mendoza

## Grams  Number of  Millimeters  Number

sig.fig.  of sigfig
➔ What is the volume of water in
this graduated cylinder?  10,034  5  150.  3
1.908  4  0.705  3
Always measure the volume of  0.32  2  0.054  2
a liquid at the bottom of the  0.00046  2  5.86 x 10​-7  3
meniscus. The units are mL.  150  2  3040  3
0.00001 3  0.0000730  3
60

subtraction

do NOT extend the result
beyond the first column with a
doubtful figure. For example,

The volume of water is 52.8 mL. The
52 mL are exactly known, and the 0.8
mL is uncertain because it was
interpolated or estimated 1 digit

Significant Figures & Zeroes

➔ Zeros between nonzero digits  ➔ 16.874 + 2.6?
are significant. That is, 508 cm
has 3 significant figures.
the decimal point and are
never significant. That is,
0.0497 cm equals 4.97 x 10​-2​ cm
and has 3 significant figures.
➔ Trailing zeros are significant
as follows: 50.0 mL has 3
significant figures, 50. mL has 2  ➔ 16.874 - 2.6?
significant figures, and 50 mL
has 1 significant figure.

Matti Mendoza

## Significant figures, multiplication,  discard or round any figures until

& division  the final number is reported.

➔ When multiplying or dividing
the answer will have the same
number of significant digits as
the least accurate number
used to get the answer. For
example,

2.005 g / 4.95 mL = 0.405 g/mL

➔ 16.874 x 2.6?

➔ 16.874 / 2.6?

➔ What is average and standard
deviation for the following 3
measurements of the same
sample?
Significant figures & calculations
that require multiple steps

➔ An ​average​ is the best
estimate of the true value of a
parameter.
➔ A ​standard deviation​ is a
measure of precision.

• Averages and standard
deviations require several steps
to calculate. You must keep track
of the number of significant
figures during each step. Do NOT