Relative Error: Percentage Error
Purpose: To calculate the relative error of experimental measurements.
- Calculate the average of the measurements. For example, the average of the sample experimental measurements in Table A2.1 is:
- Use the following equation to determine the relative error (also called percentage error) of the measurements. For example, if the accepted (known) value for the angle measurement is 29.8°, the relative error for the experimental measurement would be:
where Er is the relative error, Ea is the absolute error (the difference between the known and experimental measurements), and A is the known measurement. Note that Ea is the experimental measurement minus the accepted measurement. For this sample, the absolute error is 29.6° – 29.8° = – 0.2°.
The sign of the absolute or relative error merely indicates whether the result is low (–) or high (+).
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