Understanding Uncertainty in Scientific Measurement

three empty chemical beakers

Uncertainty in measurement is inevitable, but there are many ways to reduce the risk of inconsistent results. Keep reading to learn more about uncertainty in scientific measurements and how to reduce uncertainty estimates.

What Is Uncertainty in Measurement?

Uncertainty in measurement refers to the range of possibilities that could make a mixture incorrect, or not as accurate and precise as it could be. All measurements have a degree of uncertainty regardless of precision and accuracy.

Especially when working with chemicals, certainty in measurements is crucial. In high liability industries, such as healthcare and research and science, faulty measurements could result in a tainted product. These tainted results could negatively impact the product, the individuals that use the product, and the overall integrity of a business.

Axiom Products’ chemical measuring equipment guarantees precise and accurate measurements when you measure wet and dry ingredients. Reduce the risk of measuring cup uncertainty with Axiom Products

Most Common Sources of Error in the Measurement Process

Error in Reading Scales

When measuring the volume or weight of a mixture, a user reads some variation of scale on the measuring product. Scales are limited to fixed increments of value which are shown by division markings.

It’s impossible to get an exact quantity every time, which is why many operations subject limitations between two values to ensure a product is more consistent than inconsistent. In addition, having a small range supports the safety of the users and those that the product may affect, such as people, crops, and more.

Error in reading scales isn’t primarily targeted toward the user; the same risk occurs with digital measuring tools. No matter how high-tech a digital measuring tool is, there is always a point where the equipment cannot read the smallest standard of deviation.

Especially to new measurement users, the most common reading scale error is the parallax error. The parallax error is the inability to properly align an eye with the part of the scale that a user is reading. The scale’s reading could differ from one person to another because they could be looking at the measuring tool from different angles. Graduated cylinder uncertainty is the most common type of parallax error because of its unique shape.

Random (Indeterminate) Error

Random errors, also known as indeterminate errors, occur outside of the control of the user. Random errors occur as a result of the environment a user is working in. Random errors include vibrations, noise, change of movements, wind, and more. Whether a user is conscious of it or not, all measured quantities have some variations of random error.

Systematic (Determinate) Error

Systematic errors, also known as determinate errors, refer to the measuring pitcher, container, or cup itself. If the measuring tool is not taken care of properly, it gets worn down and potentially makes the scale marking illegible.

If a user uses both an older measuring tool and a newer tool to create a mixture, the results are inconsistent. Unlike random errors, systematic errors are easily avoidable and can be eliminated through conscious effort. However, it’s important to note a systematic error can be challenging to detect once it finds its way into the data.

How To Reduce Estimated Uncertainty in Volume Measurements

Test and Collect Data

Repeating and reproducing data is a great strategy to work toward minimizing measurement uncertainty. Repeating data allows a user to observe and interpret measurement processes. The more procedures a user repeats, the more confident they are in their results.

Reproducing data allows a user to change common elements of the measurement process. Altering external conditions, operators, equipment, and more enables users to evaluate results and look for combining uncertainties that yield less variability.

Use High-Quality Measuring Tools

Regardless of how efficient they are, the type of equipment an individual uses affects the product’s results. Choosing high-quality measuring equipment leads to accurate and precise measurements.

Before selecting a measuring product provider, make sure they are an ISO 17025 accredited manufacturer and provider. ISO 17025 accreditation allows laboratories to demonstrate that they operate competently and generate valid results.

Remove Measurement Bias

Eliminating measurement bias is another way to reduce uncertainty. Measurement bias is the systematic error associated with calibration values of a user’s standard. By removing bias, a user reduces the uncertainty that’s associated with comparisons.

Having a list of key comparison values is a great tool to have on hand. By taking advantage of this list, a user won’t have to pull a calibration report to find specific values. This saves time, increases productivity, and results in a high-quality measured result.

Guarantee Precise and Accurate Measurements With Axiom Products

Axiom Products is a leading provider of high-quality measuring products. Companies in a wide selection of industries trust us because our products deliver precision and accuracy in every pour. When you choose Axiom Products, you don’t have to worry about systematic errors.

In addition to providing unparalleled measuring products, we also supply businesses with safety products including, PVC and nitrile gloves, marking flags, direct and indirect vented goggles, and Jet Rinse Triple Rinsing Nozzles to remain EPA compliant.

Contact Axiom Products today to make us your single measurement and safety product provider!

increases productivity, and results in a high-quality measured result.