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Basic Measurement Uncertainty

Thomas M. Kegel <> Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc (CEESI) Nunn, Colorado 80648 SUMMARY When a measurement is made there are two important values associated with the result of the measurement process. The first is the numerical value of the variable being measured, the second is the uncertainty associated with that numerical value. This paper describes an analysis procedure to determine the measurement uncertainty by: 1. Presenting a simplified step by step procedure. 2. Illustrating the use of the procedure to a typical measurement process with real world problems. 3. Briefly discussing some of the more complex aspects of uncertainty analysis. PAPER STANDARDS The uncertainty analysis procedure commonly used with flow measurement processes is described in the standards ANSI/ASME MFC-2M1 and ISO 51682. The particular case of uncertainty associated with orifice meter measurements is described in ANSI/API 14.3 Part 13. All three of these standards are based on an uncertainty analysis method developed for comparing results of rocket engine tests4. A document has been recently published by ISO that describes an uncertainty analysis procedure used to compare the test data of calibration different laboratories5. From a practical point of view, the new "ISO method" does not differ significantly from the older method of Reference 4. It has been adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as well as a number of large corporations as a formal policy6. In addition, the latest revision of the standard ANSI/PTC 19.17 will include the new "ISO method". It is likely that future revisions of flow measurement uncertainty standards will adopt the new "ISO method". This paper therefore teaches the application of that method. CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS In this section are listed some concepts that need to be defined prior to presentation of the uncertainty analysis method. A measurement process consists of the instruments, operators and procedures that result in the determination of a numerical value for a variable. The true value is the value determined with a perfect measurement process. The true value is always unknown because all measurement processes are imperfect to some degree. The error is the difference between the measured value and the true value. The error is always unknown because the true value is always unknown. Uncertainty is an estimate of the interval bounding the measured value within which the true value lies. An accuracy specification usually means inaccuracy but can be interpreted as uncertainty. A manufacturer states that the "accuracy is 1.0%" really means that the accuracy is 99%. Confidence level (or confidence interval) is the degree of confidence, expressed as a percent, that the true value lies within the stated uncertainty. A proper uncertainty statement would read: "qm=500 scfm 1.0% at a 95% level of confidence". This means that 95 out of every 100 observations are between 495 and 505 scfm. Within this paper the term percent (%) means percent of reading unless it is specifically stated to be percent of full scale. ANALYSIS PROCEDURE The simplified analysis procedure consists of the five basic steps listed below. Each step is described in detail within the body of the paper. 1. Write an equation, called the data reduction equation, that gives the desired output as a function of one or more components. 2. Identify those components of the data reduction equation that potentially contribute uncertainty. 3. Determine the sensitivity coefficients for each component in Item 2. 4. Obtain numerical values for the uncertainty of each component in Item 2. 5. Combine the numerical values obtained in Item 4 to give a numerical value for the uncertainty. To aid in teaching the concepts an example is utilized that is based on the use of an orifice meter. In the interest of expediency some simplifying assumptions have been made. These assumptions are discussed in a later section of the paper.

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DATA REDUCTION EQUATION The data reduction equation for mass flowrate through an orifice meter is3: q m = C d E v Yd 2 2g c P 4 where E v = and = 1 1 4 [1]

q m = C d E v Yd 2 0.5 2g c P 4 The sensitivity coefficient associated with is: q S = m q m = 0.5 C d E v Yd 2 0.5 2g c P 4 4 = 0.5 2 0.5 C d E v Yd 2g c P

is the velocity of approach factor

d is the beta ratio. D

In the numerical example it is assumed that there are six variables contribute uncertainty. They are tabulated below along with nominal values. Cd = 0.603 Y = 0.994* = 0.5 [lb/ft3] P = 50"w.c. D = 10.026" d = 5.183" *based on P = 100 psia measured at the upstream tap SENSITIVITY COEFFICIENTS A sensitivity coefficient must be determined for each of the six variables that contribute uncertainty to Equation 1. The sensitivity coefficients are important when the components of uncertainty are combined at the end of the analysis procedure. The mathematical definition of a sensitivity coefficient is now presented. Given an output y that is a function of n inputs: y = y(x1, x2, x3, x4, ... , xn ) the sensitivity of y to xi is given by: y S xi = x i x i y [3] [2]

which means that a 1% shift in density will result in a 0.5% shift in mass flowrate. The reason for this is that the exponent of the density term is 0.5. In a similar manner it can be determined that the sensitivity coefficient associated with P is SP = 0.5. A general rule can now be stated that if y = kx and k is not a function of x, then the sensitivity coefficient is simply Sx= . Calculating Sd and SD by taking the partial derivative of Equation 1 is rather involved. An alernative, called the "dither method", is now described. To determine Sxi associated with Equation 2 the following procedure is used: 1. Determine two values of xi that are slightly more and less than the nominal value of xi. These are called xi+ and xi-. 2. Calculate values of y using xi+ and xi-. These are called y+ and y-. 3. Define xi = (xi+ - xi-) and y = (y+ - y-). The sensitivity coefficient is then calculated as y x i S xi = x y . i The "dither method" will now be used to determine Sd and SD. It is assumed that the term (d2Ev) in Equation 1 accounts for all the variation in qm due to variations in either d or D. To simplify the calculations (d2Ev) rather than qm will be used to calculate Sd and SD. This simplification is valid because a 1% shift in (d2Ev) will result in a 1% shift in qm. d [inch] 5.183 5.178 5.188 5.183 5.183 D [inch] 10.026 10.026 10.026 10.021 10.031 [-] 0.5170 0.5165 0.5175 0.5172 0.5167 d2Ev [inch2] 27.877 27.820 27.935 27.880 27.875

From a practical standpoint, the sensitivity coefficient can be interpreted as the percent change in qm that results from a one percent shift in a variable. The sensitivity coefficients associated with Equation 1 will now be determined. The sensitivity coefficient associated with Cd is: q SCd = m C d C d q m = E v Yd 2 2g c P 4 4C d = 1 .0 C d E v Yd 2 2g c P

which means that a 1% shift in discharge coefficient will result in a 1% shift in mass flowrate. In a similar manner it can be determined that the sensitivity coefficient associated with Y is SY = 1.0. To illustrate determination of the sensitivity coefficient associated with , Equation 1 is rewritten:

Table 1: Dither Method Applied to Determine Sd and SD

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The data required to calculate Sd and SD are shown in Table 1, such data can be readily generated by a spreadsheet program. The first and last two rows of column 1 contain the nominal value of d, the second and third rows contain values of d- and d+. The fourth and fifth rows of column 2 contain values of D- and D+, the first three rows contain the nominal value of D. Values resulting from the evaluation of (d2Ev) are contained in the fourth column. The "dither value" can be selected as the largest value that will not result in a change in S, a process that is straightforward with a spreadsheet program. In the present example a "dither value" of 0.01" was selected. The sensitivity coefficients are: d 2E v Sd = d

0.015 expressed as a percent which is u = 100% = 10.026 0.14%. The mean value and standard deviation of orifice plate bore measurements are 5.183" and 0.002". The 0.002 standard uncertainty is u = 100% = 0.04%. 5.183 The calibration of the two micrometers used above will contribute some uncertainty, the manufacturer claims that the readings will lie within 0.002" for both micrometers. The uncertainty estimates based on this information are Type B because no statistical data are available. The standard uncertainty is estimated to be u = 0.58 0.002 100% = 0.02% for the orifice plate bore and 5.183 0.002 u = 0.58 100% = 0.01% for the meter tube. 10.026 The uncertainties in Cd and Y are determined from Figures 1-4 and 1-5 and Table 1-5 in API 14.3 Part 1. These are Type B uncertainties because no statistical data are available. For = 0.517 and ReD = 1.5 106 the standard uncertainty in Cd is u = 0.58 0.44% = 0.25%. For P = 50" w.c. and P = 100 psia the standard uncertainty in Y is u = 0.58 0.07% = 0.04%. The differential pressure and flowing density are measured by instruments. Each instrument will have two components of uncertainty; one is due to observed random variability, the second is due to the calibration. The uncertainties due to random variability are Type A because statistical data are available. The uncertainties due to calibration are Type B because statistical data are not available. The standard deviation associated with repeated observations of the P transmitter is 0.05" w.c.. The 0.05 standard uncertainty is u = 100% = 0.10%. The 50 accuracy claimed by the manufacturer is 0.25% of full scale including calibration. The unit range is set for a full scale value of 100" w.c. which results in an accuracy of 0.25% 100" w.c = 0.25" w.c.. The standard 0.25 uncertainty is u = 0.58 100% = 0.29%. 50 The standard deviation associated with repeated observations of the densitometer is 0.1% which is the standard uncertainty. You are unable to identify the manufacturer of the densitometer but a colleague has found an old calibration report that states that the calibration accuracy is 1.0%. The standard uncertainty is u = 0.58 1.0% = 0.58%.

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d d 2 E v 27.935 27.820 5.183 = = 2.14 5.188 5.178 27.877 D d 2 E v

d 2E v Sd = D

27.875 27.880 10.026 = = 0.19 10.031 10.021 27.877 This means that 1% shifts in d and D will result in 2.14% and -0.19% shifts in qm. NUMERICAL UNCERTAINTY VALUES The objective in this section is to first identify and then classify the numerical values of uncertainty. In order to combine the uncertainties in the individual components they have to be defined in a uniform manner. The standard uncertainty is the term given to the uniform method of expressing numerical values of uncertainty. In order to estimate a standard uncertainty value, a component uncertainty is classified based on how the numerical value is determined. An estimate is classified as Type A when statistical data are available. The standard uncertainty is defined as the statistically determined standard deviation8. An estimate is classified as Type B when statistical data are not available. The standard uncertainty is defined as u = 0.58 where defines the limits within which the true value is expected to lie. Numerical values for the component standard uncertainties will now be estimated. The average pipe and bore diameter are each based on repeated measurements with micrometers. The repeat measurements will not be identical due to random variation in the measurement process. In each case the standard uncertainty is equal to the standard deviation of the repeated measurements. The mean value and standard deviation of meter tube diameter measurements are 10.026" and 0.015". The standard uncertainty is equal to the standard deviation

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Standard Uncertainty u Orifice Bore Measurement Variance Orifice Bore Micrometer Calibration Meter Tube Measurement Variance Meter Tube Micrometer Calibration Discharge Coefficient Expansion Factor Densitometer Measurement Variance Densitometer Calibration P Transmitter Measurement Variance P Transmitter Calibration 0.04 0.02 0.14 0.01 0.25 0.04 0.10 0.58 0.10 0.29

Sensitivity Coefficient s 2.14 2.14 -0.19 -0.19 1.00 1.00 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50

Su 0.086 0.043 -0.027 -0.002 0.250 0.040 0.050 0.290 0.050 0.145

100(Su)2 0.733 0.183 0.071 0.000 6.250 0.160 0.250 8.410 0.250 2.103

Contribution [%] 4.0 1.0 0.4 0.0 33.9 0.9 1.4 45.7 1.4 11.4

Table 2 Summary of Uncertainty Components

COMBINED UNCERTAINTY The combined standard uncertainty for Equation 2 is:

u (y) y =

i =1

2 2 xi u

(x i )

uncertainty expressed with a level of confidence is given by kuc where k is a coverage factor. Numerical values of k are given in Table 3. For present the numerical example the uncertainty is 1.96 0.43% = 0.84% with a 95% level of confidence. One valuable aspect of this uncertainty analysis method is contained in the fifth column of Table 2. This column contains the ratio of the entry in the fourth column to the fourth column total. The value represents the percentage of the total uncertainty that can be attributed to that component. The value of column five is in the ability to make financial decisions based on the uncertainty analysis data. Suppose for the present example, a decision is to be made as to where to focus effort to reduce the overall uncertainty, from a business point of view effort and uncertainty can both be reduced to monetary units. Clearly from Table 2 the uncertainty in Cd, and the calibration of the densitometer and DP transmitter contribute most of the uncertainty. It is these three components that will likely yield the best return on investment. ASSUMPTIONS There are a number of orifice plate performance characteristics that will contribute uncertainty under certain conditions, they are listed below. The numerical example of this paper neglected these components for the sake of brevity. The reader must consider these components if they are performing their own analyses. Each one should appear in a summary table (such as Table 2 in this paper). 1. Installation effects that consist of swirling flow and profile distortion as well as the location of orifice plate and pressure taps.


The results for the numerical example are contained in Table 2. Each row contains the data for one of the components described above. The first two columns contain the standard uncertainty and sensitivity coefficient associated with a component. The third column contains the product Su while the fourth column contains the term 100(Su). The "100" term in the fourth column is included to allow for the display of additional significant figures. The values contained in the fifth column are described below. It is noted that Table 2 can be easily implemented in a standard spreadsheet program. Level of Confidence [%] 68.27 90.00 95.00 95.45 99.00 99.73 Coverage Factor k 1.000 1.645 1.960 2.000 2.576 3.000

Table 3: Coverage Factor The square root of the sum of the values contained in the fourth column is the combined standard uncertainty associated with qm, the numerical value is uc = 0.43%. The

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2. The surface quality of the meter tube and orifice plate as well as the edge of the orifice plate bore. 3. Pulsating flow due to compressors or pipe geometry. 4. The calculating algorithm and sample speed of an electronic flow computer. 5. The fluid properties may be determined based on pressure and temperature measurements. 6. Environmental considerations may affect the performance of measuring instruments. These include the ambient temperature, humidity and installation. There are some aspects of uncertainty analysis that have not been considered for the sake of brevity. They are briefly listed below, Reference 5 contains more detailed information. 1. For the present application the degrees of freedom is a measure of how closely a small sample approximates the entire population. In the present example the orifice bore measurement is only based on a few measurements, a small number of degrees of freedom. The coverage factor required to achieve a given confidence interval mat be larger. For example, with 12 measurements the coverage factor required for 95% confidence is k = 2.201. To achieve the same confidence level with 4 measurements requires that k = 3.182. In most practical uncertainty analyses this is not an issue. 2. Traceability is an unbroken chain of calibrations that leads to NIST, each step of the chain will contribute uncertainty. In the present example the traceability chains have not been considered, in a real world analysis they should be considered. 3. The application of statistical process control will identify long term and short term variability. These concepts are used to estimate uncertainty based on the time intervals associated with the use and calibration of instruments. 4. The present example assumed that all components of uncertainty are independent, if two components of uncertainty that are not independent are said to be correlated. If correlation is present the method for combining components must be adjusted. REFERENCES 1. ANSI/ASME MFC-2M, Measurement Uncertainty for Fluid Flow in Closed Conduits, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1988 2. ISO 5168, Measurement of Fluid Flow - Estimation of Uncertainty of a Flow Rate Measurement, International Organization for Standardization, 1978 3. API MPMS 14.3, Natural Gas Fluid Measurements, Concentric Square-Edged Orifice Meters, American Petroleum Institute, 1992

4. Abernethy, R. B. et al, Handbook Uncertainty in Gas Turbine Measurements, AEDC-TR-73-5, Arnold Engineering Development Center, 1973 5. ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement, International Organization for Standardization, 1994 6. Taylor, B. N., and Kuyatt, "Progress Report on the Implementation of the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement", Proc. 1994 Meas. Sci. Conf, 1994 7. ANSI/ASME PTC 19.1, Measurement Uncertainty, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1990 8. Wadsworth, H. M., Handbook of Statistical Methods for Engineers and Scientists, McGraw-Hill, 1990 9. Kegel, T.M., "Pressure Instruments Reaps SPC Benefits", InTech, December, 1995 10. API MPMS 13, Statistical Aspects of Measuring and Sampling, American Petroleum Institute, 1994 11. Taylor, R.P. and Douglas, F., "Uncertainty Analysis of Rocket Motor Thrust Measurements with Correlated Biases", Proc. 41st Int. Inst Symp., Instrument Society of America, 1995

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