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01-02-2018

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Situation considered so far: Single true value applied repeatedly and


resulting measured values recorded and analyzed.
 Actual instrument calibration:
True value varied in increments over some range  Measured value also varies over a
range.
Very often: No multiple repetition of a given true value.
Procedure merely to cover desired range in both increasing and decreasing directions.
Thus a given true value applied at most twice if we choose to use the same set of true
values for both increasing and decreasing readings.
 Example: Pressure gage :-/!
Data taken over the range 0 to 10 kPa.
Input-Output relation ideally a straight line (often the case).
Average calibration curve for such an instrument generally taken as a straight line
which fits the scattered data points best as defined by some chosen criterion.
Most common: Least squares criterion.

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Situation considered so far: Single true value applied repeatedly and


resulting measured values recorded and analyzed.
 Actual instrument calibration:
True value varied in increments over some range  Measured value also varies over a
range.
Very often: No multiple repetition of a given true value.
Procedure merely to cover desired range in both increasing and decreasing directions.
Thus a given true value applied at most twice if we choose to use the same set of true
values for both increasing and decreasing readings.
 Example: Pressure gage :-/!
Data taken over the range 0 to 10 kPa.
Input-Output relation ideally a straight line (often the case).
Average calibration curve for such an instrument generally taken as a straight line
which fits the scattered data points best as defined by some chosen criterion.
Most common: Least squares criterion.
Minimizes the sum of the squares of the vertical deviations of the data points from
the fitted line.
(This procedure can also be used to fit curves other than straight lines to scattered
data.)

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01-02-2018

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Least squares criterion:


 Minimizes the sum of the squares of the vertical deviations of the data points from the fitted line.
 Equation for straight line taken as:

 Task at hand: To find m and b such that the following is minimized:

𝑝= 𝑞 , − 𝑏 − 𝑚𝑞 ,

where N = total number of points.


 Necessary condition for p to be minimum:
𝜕𝑝 𝜕𝑝
= −2 𝑞 , − 𝑏 − 𝑚𝑞 , = 0, = −2 𝑞, 𝑞 , − 𝑏 − 𝑚𝑞 , =0
𝜕𝑏 𝜕𝑚

 Normal equations:

𝑏 𝑁 +𝑚∑ 𝑞, =∑ 𝑞 ,

𝑏∑ 𝑞 , +𝑚∑ 𝑞, =∑ 𝑞, 𝑞 ,

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Least squares criterion:


Minimizes the sum of the squares of the vertical deviations of the data points from the
fitted line.
Equation for straight line taken as:

 m and b can be calculated as:

where N = total number of points.

For the present example: m = 1.08, b = -0.85 kPa.

Since these values are arrived at from scattered data, it would be useful to have some
idea of their possible variation.
Standard deviations of m and b?

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01-02-2018

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Least squares criterion:


Standard deviations of m and b:

where

Sq0 represents the standard deviation of q0.


If qi were fixed and then repeated over and over, q0 would give scattered values
with the amount of scatter indicated by Sq0.
If we assume that this Sq0 would be the same for any value of qi then we can
calculate Sq0 using all the data points and without having to repeat any one qi many
times.
For our pressure gage data: Sq0 = 0.20 kPa  Sm = 0.0134 kPa, Sb = 0.078 kPa.
Assuming Gaussian distribution and the 99.7 percent limits (±3s), we could give m as
1.08±0.04 kPa and b as -0.85±0.24 kPa.

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Least squares criterion:


 In using calibration results:
 q0 (indicated pressure) known.
 We wish to make a statement about qi (true pressure).
 Least squares line gives:

 The qi value computed this way must have some plus-or-minus error limits put on it.
 We can calculate sqi from sq0 as follows:

 Present example: sqi = 0.18 kPa.


 Thus if we were using this pressure gage to measure an unknown pressure and got a
reading of 4.32 kPa, our estimate of the true pressure would be 4.79±0.54 kPa if we
wished to use the ±3s limits.
 Another common method of giving bounds on error:
 Probable error (definition): ep = 0.674s
 Range of ± ep includes true value 50% of the time.
 Using this method: Estimate of true pressure: 4.79±0.12 kPa
 Very important to clearly state the method being used when providing
such an estimate.

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01-02-2018

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Bias and Imprecision:


 Such a calibration allows decomposition of the total error of a measurement process into
two parts: bias and imprecision.
 Reading: 4.32 kPa
 True value: 4.79±0.54 kPa (3s limits)
 Bias: -0.47 kPa
 Imprecision: ±0.54 kPa (3s limits)
 Bias: Also called systematic error.
 Same for each reading.
 Can be removed by calibration.
 Error due to imprecision: Also called random error or nonrepeatability.
 In general different for every reading.
 Can only put bounds on it.
 Not possible to remove.
 Calibration: Process of removing bias and defining imprecision
numerically.
 Total inaccuracy of process defined by combination of bias and
imprecision.
 If bias known:
 Total inaccuracy entirely due to imprecision and can be specified by a single number such as
sqi

Generalized Performance Characteristics of Instruments


1. Static Characteristics

 Actual engineering practice:


Accuracy of an instrument usually given by a single numerical value.
Precise meaning of the number often not made clear.
Often even though a calibration is carried out, sqi is not calculated.
Error taken as the largest horizontal deviation of any data point from the fitted line.
In the present example: At qi = 0. Error taken as 0.25 kPa.
Inaccuracy in this case thus might be quoted as ±2.5% of full scale.
 Why?
Practical viewpoint: When a measurement is taken, all we really want to say is that it
cannot be incorrect by more than some specific value.
Easy way out: Simply give a single number.
Would be legitimate if the bias were known to be zero (removed by calibration) and if
the plus-or-minus limit given were specified as ±s, ±2s, ±3s or ±ep (since all these
terms recognize the random nature of the error).
However, if the bias is unknown (and not zero), quoting a single number for the total
inaccuracy is not really satisfactory. But still often done.