Lab Experiment: Determining Perimeter

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Determining Perimeter, Area of a Standard Paper Sheet, Determining Minimum Reaction Time, Uncertainty and Their Propagations

Abstract: We conducted two experiments aimed at learning data collection, presentation, interpretation, experimental uncertainties along with their propagation, writing of a scientific report, determination of perimeter, area of a standard printing paper sheet, and determining human reaction times – individual, group and class. Here are our results; perimeter, P=99.20+/-0.085 cm, area, A of the sheet = 605.19 +/- 1.056 cm2, my human reaction time, tR= 20.33+/- 2.036 seconds, my group average tR=0.19+/-0.09 second and our class average tR=0.18 +/- 0.91 second. Various publications provide this range of human reaction time for 15-45 year age group: 0.15-0.24 second. Most of us are closer to the age of 15 than to 45. Accordingly, my tR, for example (20.33+/- 2.036 second) falls about in the middle but this is ok because I am 23 so I will not fall in the lower portion of the time scale like other younger classmates. Similarly, our group (0.19+/-0.09 second) and class (0.18 +/- 0.91 second) times also fall nearer to 0.15 second, therefor also providing credit to our results. We propagate uncertainties introduced into data we collected by instruments. Any experimental results without uncertainties are considered bogus. Thus, knowledge of these and their propagation is important.

Apparatus: Ruler, printer paper sheet, calculator, meter stick

Theory/Background Physics: Concept of experimental uncertainties/errors and philosophy of experiments.


Part 1: This lab consisted of two parts with principle goals of studying uncertainties and their propagation. In part one we measured dimensions (length, L, and width, W) of a sheet of printing paper. Each person in our group measured L and W independently. This data, which is displayed in Table 1 was used to calculate average L ( Lavg ) and W ( Wavg ). Average values were used to...
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