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Best way to find the Least Count of a


Measuring tool

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ImagebyByantpkr,freedigitalphotos.net
Aprominentconcepttounderstandandmeasurereadingsproperly(ofameasuring
instrument)isLeastCount.It'llhelpyoupracticallyalso.Today,I'dliketoshowto
you,thebestwaytofindit,whichisofcourseaccordingtome.I'mnotsure
whetheryouwilllikeitornot,althoughIhopeyoudo!
Iwilltrytoexplaintheconceptfirst&thengiveafewExamplesaboutfindingLeastCount
forRuler,VernierCalipersandthenTravellingMicroscope.Don'tworryifyou'renot
abletounderstandtheconceptcompletely,gothroughtheexamples(Ruler,
VernierCalipers&TravellingMicroscope)tonicelyunderstand.

THECONCEPT
LeastCountisaveryimportantconcept,introducedtoproperlymeasurethereadingfroma
measuringtool,likeVernierCalipers,TravellingMicroscope,RulerORameter,likecar's
speedometer,ammeter,voltmeter,etc..Soit'saconceptthat'llhelpyounotonlyin
yourtheoreticallife,butalsoPractically,inyoureverydaylife.Learningand
understandingitisutter.

Now,whatisLeastCount?
LeastCounttellsyoutheminimumreadingorvaluethatcanbemeasuredwith
ameasuringtoolordevice.
Generally,simplymultiplyingLeastCountwiththenumberofdivisions(likeinruler)or
fractionofdivisions(likeinVernierCalipers),wegetouranswerintheunitsspecified.For

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Example,21divisionsinaRulerwouldmean2.1cmor21mm.Leastcountofaruleris0.1
cmor1mm(we'llunderstandhowtofindit,laterinthisarticle).

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HOWTOFINDLEASTCOUNT
I'veseenmanypeopleconfusedabouthowtofindLeastCount.Themethodusedbythem
mightbeslightlydifferent,toughtoremember,soeveniftheyunderstanditonce,thenext
timetheytrytodothesame,theyforgetaboutit,whichisnotgood.
ThewayIliketomakeitunderstandableisrelatedtothedefinitionofLeast
Countitself.Remember,LeastCountgivesyoutheminimumvaluethatcanbe
measuredbybytheinstrument/device/tool.Soconsideringthat,LeastCountwill
be:
YoucantakeanynumberofdivisionsforfindingLeastCount,butthosehavetobethe
smallestones.Letustake"n"smalldivisions.
Valuemeasuredin"n"divisions
LC=
n

NecessaryNote
ManyImagesgivenon
"merryquest.blogspot.com"(thiswebsite)
maybefromfreedigitalphotos.net,
commons.wikimedia.org&
openclipart.org.
andsomeothersmaybenotfromabove
websites.
Noteupdatedtill09January2015.

Sooverall,LeastCountisbasedontheconceptofUnitaryMethod.
Don'tworryifyoudon'tunderstandtheabovementionedtheorycompletely.
We'llusethesameconceptheretofindtheleastcountofRuler,VernierCalipers&
TravellingMicroscope,althoughthingsmightchangealittleincaseofVernier
Calipers&TravellingMicroscope.Irecommendtogothroughtheexamples
belowtounderstandproperly.

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Alsowe'lltalkalittleabouttheimportanceorPhysicalsignificanceofLeast
Count,incaseofaRuler.

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2015(2)

Soforaruler,thatis,thescale,weuseindailylife,wecanfindtheLeastCount,bythe
definitionformulaonly,whichwedid.

2014(150)
December(19)

Letustake20divisionsforit(thevalueof"n".Weknowthatarulermeasures20mmor2
cm,20divisions.

November(1)

Valuemeasuredin20divisions
LC=
20

September(4)

October(3)

August(10)
July(24)

=2cm/20=0.1cm
ThereforeLeastCountofaRulercomesouttobe0.1cmor1mm.Remember,
youcouldeventakeothervalueslike{1cm/10}.

June(22)
May(8)
BestwaytofindtheLeastCountofa
Measuringto...

Nowwhatistheimportanceofthisvalue(0.1cm)?

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Whilecalculating,weused20divisions.Now10,20,30,40,etc.arenumbersthatcanbe
easilydealtwithpractically,ratherthannumberslike13,17,27,etc.

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Whatifyouwannacalculatethevaluemeasuredby23divisionsofaruler?HereLeast
Countbecomeshandy.Youcansimplymultiply23with0.1cm(theLeastCount)&getthe
answer2.3cm.
Therefore,2.3cmisthevaluemeasuredby23divisionsofaRuler.

THEVERNIERCALIPERS
Now,VernierCalipers,issimilartoruler,butalittlemorecomplexandcangivemore
specificresults.TheaccuracyofVernierCalipersismuchmorethanruler,astheformer
cangiveresultsuptotwodecimalplaces(incaseofcentimeters),whereastheRulercan
onlygiveupto1.
Nowlet'stalkaboutwhat'stheLeastCountofVernierCalipersandhowtofindit.
Incaseofruler,therewasonly1scalewhichgaveusthereadings,sowestraightawaycould
useUnitarymethodonthat.ButinVernierCalipers,thereare2scales,called"TheMain
Scale"&"TheVernierScale".TheMainScaleissimilartotheRulerweuse,therefore"Main
Scale"doestheworkofprovidingtheresultsuptothefirstDecimalPlace.(incentimetres)
VernierScaledoesthemagic(nearmagical!)ofprovidinguswiththenext
DecimalPlace,whichimpartsmoreAccuracytotheVernierCalipers.Consider
theRuler,takethesmallestdivisioninit0.1cm.Nowifwedraw10moresmallerdivisions
inthat,theoreticallythosewillgivetheseconddecimalPlace.
Butisthatfeasiblepractically?Ofcoursenot!0.1cm(1mm)isalreadyverysmalland
putting10morelinesinthatwouldbeoutrageous.Sotodothat,VernierScaleisused.
"VernierScale"canbeconsideredasthemagnifiedformofthosesmall10linesthatwe
weretodrawin0.1cmofruler.
So,theaboveshouldexplaintheconceptofVernierCaliperstoyou.Let'scomebacktofind
theLeastCountofVernierCalipers.
Inadditiontosimplyfindingtheminimumvalue(LeastCount)givenbyMainScale(ruler),
wehavetoconsidertheVernierScaletoo(themagnifiedversionofthesmallerlinesthatwe
weretodrawinthe0.1cmofRuler).Whatwe'lldoisfirstfindtheLeastCountoftheMain
ScaleandthenmoveontotheVernierScaletosolveourissuestepbystep.
TheMainScale(sameasRuler)willgivethesmallestReadingorLeastCountof0.1cm,as
incaseoftheRuler.Next,theformulawouldbethesame:
Valuemeasuredin"n"divisions
LC=
n
where"n"aretheSMALLESTDIVISIONS.NowIwantyoutoimagineVernierScale
asthesmallerlinesin0.1cmoftheRuler(MainScale).Whatwouldyouconsider
"n"tobe?Thesmallestlineswe'veimagined,ORthesmallerlinesofanactualRuler
(withoutVernierScale).Ofcoursethefirstchoiceiscorrect.Since"n"aretheSMALLEST
DIVISIONS,wehavetotakeuptheimaginedlines,whicharedrawninthe0.1cmgap.
10aredrawnin0.1cmgap,20in0.2cmgap&30in0.3cmgap.Thesegivethe
correspondingvaluesof"n"andvaluesmeasuredbyn.
Soyoucantakeanyofthem.Ifyou'rewritinginExamI'llalwaysrecommendyou
totakeupthefirstoneintheseries,sotheExaminerdoesn'tgetconfused.So
consideringthis,we'lltakethefirstone:

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n=10&
Valuemeasuredin10(smallestdivisions,n)=0.1cm.
Correspondingly,TheLeastCount:
Valuemeasuredin10divisions(smallest)
LC=
10
0.1cm
=
10
whichturnsouttobe0.01cm.Voila!it'stheLeastCountofVernierCalipers.Asaspecial
case,theLeastCountofageneralVernierCalipers(doneabove)isalsocalled
VernierConstant.
Ihopeyougotthis!ThisImaginingconceptwillhelpyouunderstandtheLeastCountalot.
It'llhelpyoubetterknowotherdevicesalso.

EXERCISEONVERNIERCALIPERS
So,we'vesofarfoundtheLeastCountofageneralVernierCalipers.Letusexercisethe
sameImaginingConceptonadifferentVernierCalipers,havingLeastCount
0.002cm,alotmoreaccurate.Thisaccuratedevicehasbeenshownintheimage
below:

ImagebyArtMechanic,commons.wikimedia.org
TheMainScale,hereisasameastheRuler.ButtheVernierScalehasbeendesignedtobe
anotherruler!(orHalfRulertobeprecise)Insteadofsimply10smallestdivisionsinthe
VernierScale,thereareatotalof50smallestones.Therefore,summontheLeastCount
formula:
Valuemeasuredin"n"divisions
LC=
n

Remember,VernierScalegivesthesmallestdivisions"n",nottheMainScale.SoImagine
thesmaller0.1cmoftheMainScalebeingdividedinto50moredivisions,suchthat0.1cm
gapmakes50smallestdivisions,0.2cmmakes100,0.3cmgapmakes150,....So:
Valuemeasuredin50divisions(smallest)
LC=
50
0.1cm
=
50
whichis0.002cmor0.02mm,theLeastCountoftheVernierCalipersshown.

THETRAVELLINGMICROSCOPE
TheTravellingMicroscopeoffersevengreaterprecisionthantheVernier
Calipers,thatis,ifyoutakeupcentimetersasunits,TheTravellingMicroscope
canmeasureupto3decimalplaces.Thisistheheightisn'tit?Thatis,0.001cmisthe
minimumvaluethatcanbemeasuredbyit!Oh!I'verevealedtheLeastCountalready!But
whatcanIsay,it'ssonice.

Justthinkalittle,0.001cmwouldmean10micrometres.That'ssuchahighvalueof
precisiontobeachievedpractically.
Anyways,TheTravellingMicroscopeworksthesamewayasTheVernierCalipers.Thereis
aMainScale&thenaVernierScale.Thedifferenceisjustinthe"n"(thenumberof
smallestdivisionsconsidered)andtheValuegivenbythosendivisions.
TheImaginingconcepthastobeutilizedheretoo.TheMainScaleDivisionsarelittle
differentthanRuler.The1cmisdividedinto20divisions,insteadof10(incaseofaRuler).
ThereforeintheMainScaleonly1cmgapmeans20divisions,2cmmeans40divisions,3
cmmeans60divisions.Therefore,consideringtheMainScaleonly,byunitarymethod:
1MainScaleDivision=1cmOR2cmOR3cmOR.....

204060
AllofthemgivetheAnswer=0.05cm.
Now,thisisofcoursenottheright"n"ortheValuesmeasuredbyn,because"n"hastobe
thesmallestdivisionswhicharetheVernierDivisions,nottheMainScaleones.
AgaintheImaginingsaysthattheVernierDivisionshavetobeconsideredasthesmallest
linesdrawnbetweenthesmallestlines,actuallyintheMainScale(SeeVernierCalipers
ExampleforDetails).Here,TheVernierScalehas50divisions,soimagine50linesdrawn
inthat0.05cmgapoftheMainScale(ToughtoevenImagine!:P).
RememberthedefinitionformulaforleastCount:
Valuemeasuredin"n"divisions
LC=

n
where"n"aretheSMALLESTDIVISIONS.
Thequestionisthesame.Whatvalueof"n"tochoose.Thesmallestdivisionsaretheones
givenbyVernierScale.
Imaginethemnow.Thereare50smallestdivisionsin0.05cmgap,100(50more)in0.10
cmgap,150in0.15cmgap,.....soon.
Thesearethethingsweneeded."n"canbetakesas50,100or150withthecorresponding
Valueittells.So:
Valuemeasuredin50divisions(smallest)
LC=
50
0.05cm
=
50
whichgivestheanswer0.001cm,theLeastCountofTravellingMicroscope.
That'sit!
That'showyoufindLeastCountofaMeasuringTool/device/Instrument,which'llhelpyou
takeupanyReadingfromit.
Note:Asadisclaimer,Ihavetotellyouthatthisisathesis.Pleasedon't
beoverreliantonthisarticle,abouttheexactinformation.
Butthishasbeenoperatedmanyatimesanditworks,soweshouldbegood.
Ihopeyoulikedtheabovepost.Commentwithyourreviews,evena"Thank
you"willbeenoughformetoknowthatIwasabletohelpyou.
Youcanaskyourquestionsortocontactme,Icanalsobecontactedbythe
"ContactMe"optiononthewebsite.
Alsofeelfreetosharethepostusingitslink(URL).

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PostedbyMohakAroraonThursday,May29,2014
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