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Gonzalo Vidaurrazaga Dr. Keith Herold Physics HL IB Year 1 pd.

6 August 24, 13

“Wood Blocks” Uncertainties and Error in Measurement (Density Graphing Lab)
1. I. TITLE: “Wood Blocks” – Uncertainties and Error in Measurement 2. II. OBJECTIVE/or HYPOTHEIS: Take measurements and accurately record values making a data table and graph with error bars using Microsoft Excel. Make a data table with uncertainties listed above the columns. Determine absolute uncertainties and % uncertainties and total uncertainty. Abstract: five wooden blocks are to be measured with the centimeter rulers (approximately 30 cm long). Data table will contain the following: mass, length, width, height, volume, *total absolute uncertainty, total % uncertainty (i.e. the addition of each % uncertainty). Density will be calculated=m/vol. Or grams per cubic centimeter. It will be recorded from the average of the three trials on each block. The absolute uncertainty of density will need to be calculated and also recorded in the second data table of “AVERAGE DENSITY AND UNCERTAINTIES OF WOODEN BLOCKS”. Density vs. block # will be graphed. Error bars will be included on graph. Uncertainties will be labeled with each axis.
Identification of Variables: Independent variable: Volume (Length, width and height) and mass Dependent variable: Density Controlled variables: 1. Same balance to weight mass

2. Same rulers used to measure blocks 3. Same people doing the three trials 4. Units of measurements throughout the experiment (ex: always used cm for length) Method of Controlling the Variables: While conducting our lab, we concentrated on maintaining the same everything we could to reduce the magnitude of possible random and/or systematic error. We controlled the variables by assigning each member of the group a specific task. First of all, as a group we decided to measure everything in centimeter to the hundredth. As we were four in a group, three were assigned to actually measure the dimensions of the blocks while the fourth member recorded everything on Microsoft Excel. By measuring something three times and averaging those, we reduce the chance of random error, and we make our results more accurate. We also controlled the variables by using the same materials during the experiment. Each person used the same ruler to measure the blocks and we got the weight of each block with the same balance. Finally, to prevent confusions in units or in rounding decimals, we always used the same unit of measurement for each type of measurement: cm was always used for length while mass was always measured in grams.

3. III. PROCEDURE: To avoid any kind of confusion that led later to more chances of error in our data, my group kept a really simple set of procedures while conducting the lab. First, we got everything we needed. This includes the rulers, the set of blocks 1-5 and the tables in the spreadsheet ready for the information to be plugged in. Three were going to measure the blocks while I was going to record the raw data. Then, when everything was ready, each person started measuring separately each dimension of each different block, and as they finished the block they passed it around and they gave the measurements to me. When we finished measuring the length, width and height, we started using the balance and we measure the mass of each block in grams. Finally, after we had all the required measurements, we started doing the entire math process to get the volume, the density and then we calculated the total absolute uncertainty in the density of each block. Finally, after having all the data we needed, we started analyzing the records and we began to draw conclusions. 4. IV. MATERIALS:

• • • • •

5 different wooden blocks 3 rulers Laptop with Microsoft Excel Weight balance YouTube (tutorials on excel)

Block #1 Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 Person measuring Pedro Jorge Matias Average cm^3 +- . 04 grams +0.01 grams/cm^ 3 +-

Length Width Height Volume Mass Density 2.29 4.94 4.94 55.88 33.14 0.59 2.36 4.85 4.89 55.97 33.14 0.59 2.31 4.89 4.98 56.25 33.14 0.59 2.32 4.89 4.94 56.04 33.14 0.59 Block #2 cm^3 +- . grams +grams/cm^ Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 04 0.01 3 +-.03 Length Width Height Volume Mass Density 3.92 3.91 4.02 61.62 43.14 0.70 4.02 3.94 4.01 63.51 43.14 0.68 4.01 3.98 3.98 63.52 43.14 0.68 3.98 3.94 4.00 62.88 43.14 0.69 Block #3 cm^3 +- . grams +grams/cm^ Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 04 0.01 3 +-.03 Length Width Height Volume Mass Density 2.25 4.79 9.99 107.67 64.54 0.60 2.35 4.86 9.92 113.30 64.54 0.57 2.32 4.81 9.98 111.37 64.54 0.58 2.31 4.82 9.96 110.77 64.54 0.58 Block #4 cm^3 +- . grams +grams/cm^ Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 04 0.01 3 +-.03 Length Width Height Volume Mass Density 2.31 6.78 6.92 108.38 62.32 0.58

Person measuring Pedro Jorge Matias Average

Person measuring Pedro Jorge Matias Average

Person measuring Pedro

Jorge Matias Average

2.37 2.39 2.36

6.73 6.82 6.78 Block #5

6.92 6.95 6.93

110.37 113.28 110.67 cm^3 +- . 04

62.32 62.32 62.32 grams +0.01

0.56 0.55 0.56 grams/cm^ 3 +-.03

Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 Person measuring Pedro Jorge Matias Average

Length Width Height Volume Mass Density 2.96 6.76 12.98 259.72 132.01 0.51 3.05 6.82 13.07 271.87 132.01 0.49 2.95 6.85 13.02 263.10 132.01 0.50 2.99 6.81 13.02 264.88 132.01 0.50

Average of Measurements Measurements (cm) +- 0.05 Length Width Height 2.32 4.89 4.94 3.98 3.94 4.00 2.31 4.82 9.96 2.36 6.78 6.93 2.99 6.81 13.02 cm^3 grams grams/cm^3 +-.04 +-0.01 +-.03 Volume Mass Density 56.04 33.14 0.59 62.88 43.14 0.69 110.77 64.54 0.58 110.67 62.32 0.56 264.88 132.01 0.50

Block Block Block Block Block

1 2 3 4 5

Graph Analysis: Graphs 1, 2 and 3 show the basic measurements of the blocks; just the independent variables are graphed. Simple line-graphs provide a clear analysis of the difference in each dimension there is as the block varies, showing that as the block varies, the dimensions also do, but they should do it at the same ratio and the density should appear to be similar.

6. VI. DATA PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS:* (process at the end)*
Uncertain ty Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4 Block 5 Sum of Length Width Height Mass error 0.0216 0.0102 0.0101 0.0003 0.04 0.0126 0.0127 0.0125 0.0002 0.04 0.0216 0.0104 0.0050 0.0002 0.04 0.0212 0.0074 0.0072 0.0002 0.04 0.0167 0.0073 0.0038 0.0001 0.03

Block Block Block Block Block

1 2 3 4 5

Total Error 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.03

Density grams/cm Total absolute uncertainty in ^3 density 0.59 0.02 0.69 0.03 0.58 0.02 0.56 0.02 0.50 0.01

Graph Analysis: Graph #4 is the most complete graph. This shows our dependent variables in complete detail. It provides all the density with exact error bars. It differentiates outliers from normal measurements and it includes three trend lines to provide a clear view on every possible measurement depending on the variation of the possible error, even the most drastic possibilities are shown. Those are a line of best fit, a maximum line and a minimum line; all of them going through every point in the graph (except the outlier), or at least passing through some point in the error bar.

7. VII. OBSERVATIONS: • More than one person measured each side of a block to reduce the chances and the magnitude and random error. By measuring the length, width and height three times and averaging those, we get a more accurate value of the real volume, leading to a more accurate final density. Two of us recorded the measurements in excel. In the spread sheet, each one did the math separately until we got the final density with its total absolute uncertainty to make sure we did the math and we worked correctly with the equations and the technical process in excel. When collecting the data, we needed to use two different class periods. When we came in in the second one, we never know if we got the same series of blocks we had measured the past class. Even though the same guy with the same measurements cut them, there might have been some differences, and by probability, we probably got a different set of blocks. After all the calculations, each block had a different total absolute uncertainty for each one, but we decided to use the greatest possible error for all of the blocks.

Sources of uncertainty and error: • As I mentioned, we collected data in two different days. During the first day, we collected all the dimensions of the blocks and during the second we recorded the mass of the blocks. Probably, we might have gotten a different block #1 than we had before. The same with every other block. There were about 5 blocks of each number, and even though the same person wanted to cut them into the same

dimensions, they definitely vary, so it affects the ratio we have between mass and volume, consequently affecting our final density. • Erosion due to different causes (air, friction, humidity) that could affect the integrity and consequently the mass and volume of the block, leading to a change in the final density. For example, we recorded measurements during a cold morning and during a sunny afternoon. During these two environments, the humidity (the water vapor the block had absorbed) definitely varied, so the block did change and this is a potential source of error. Lines on the ruler for mm are extremely thick; they have high chances of systematic error because of people estimating some decimals

8. VIII. CONCLUSION AND EVALUATION: Conclusion: By performing this lab and analyzing the collected data I was able to determine the use and application of total absolute and percentage uncertainty into the calculations and the collected data. Uncertainties push you to analyze and judge every aspect that could in some way affect the data or the possible error in it. This enables you to have a clear view on what the true reality is for the data you are about to analyze, leading to a far more detailed understanding of the concept. We learned how to get uncertainties of volume, adding them up after dividing them up over each specific corresponding dimension. Adding trend lines is also a great learning outcome from this lab. The error bars of the uncertainties permit you to add the more drastic possible linear trends. In this case, we added the average line (line of best fit), a maximum line and the minimum line. Trend lines also allow you to interpret outliers. One of our data points didn’t let the line of best fit go through every

error bar in the graph, so we separated it from the normal measurements and we added it into a separate series named “outliers”. I would say this was a very successful lab; we did conduct everything as we were supposed to and we have now a deep understanding of what uncertainties are, why they are important and how to calculate them. This is a vital concept to succeed in every upcoming lab we will conduct in the following two years during HL Physics in the IB Diploma.

Evaluation: In general lines, I would say we did conduct this total absolute and percentage uncertainty lab in the context of density in wooden block successfully. After doing so, we are not only learning new concepts that are vital for future lab write ups, but we are getting used to the process of labs in order for us to do a complete lab including design, data collection and processing and conclusion and evaluation. In this specific case, coming up with a series of observations and sources of error in the lab write up, we really connected it to a lab, it enabled us to understand why we were including an error possibility to each measurement. We successfully learnt how to deal with uncertainties in different cases, how to add them up when you multiply different dimensions which each has an specific uncertainty and how to calculate the total absolute uncertainty of a measurement such as density in wooden blocks.

Even though we did understood deeply this concept and we did meet our purpose after conducting the lab, I would certainly change some things to make the process of understanding this easier. The things I would modify are:

1. I would explain the class how to calculate the uncertainty of things that include multiple measurements that each has a specific uncertainty, such as volume or density. Students didn’t understand clearly this concept, so they ended up asking the teacher separately, and it was a waste of time for a teacher to explain it multiple times to different people. 2. Provide tutorials or any method of teaching students on how to use Microsoft Excel for the automatic mathematical process after providing equations, the creation of graphs and the integration of error bars and trend lines. 3. I would assign a specific set of blocks 1-5 to each group in the class for them to be aware to record data of the same block for each block number. 4. I would also let students identify their own purpose and objective of the lab, I wouldn’t provide them one because each individual has a different view on what you can learn by conducting this lab.

Even though some things could have been changed that would have definitely helped the majority of the students to understand better this concept and to dedicate more time to the comprehension rather than to the use of specific tools, the lab was designed successfully because we were able to understand the intended message and purpose of this lab.

Skeleton equation for Total Absolute Uncertainty 0.05 +/0.05 +/0.05 +/0.01

*Technique for uncertainty

________ + ____________ + _______ + C

_________ = n D

N x 100 = P Where A, B and C are values of Length, Width and Height (m) And D is the value of mass (g) And P is Percentage Uncertainty