# Having a problem with this simple question

• bwilhelm
In summary, to calculate percent error in a conservation of energy lab, use the formula (|Etotal - Elast|)/Etotal * 100.
bwilhelm

## Homework Statement

I am trying to calculate a percent of error in a conservation of energy lab, and for some reason I am completely drawing a blank.
Just so you know what I am looking at,
I have about 10 values or so in 3 columns labeled KE, PE, E. E is KE + PE

## Homework Equations

I wrote down (Elast - E1st)/ (Etotal) and then multiply by 100. Something just seems wrong here and I don't know why. Is that correct?

## The Attempt at a Solution

No, this formula is incorrect. The correct formula to calculate percent error in a conservation of energy lab is (|Etotal - Elast|)/Etotal * 100. This formula calculates the absolute value of the difference between the total initial energy and the total final energy, then divides it by the total initial energy, and multiplies it by 100 to get the percent error.

It looks like you are on the right track with your equation. However, it may be helpful to break down your equation and understand each component. The percent of error is typically calculated by taking the absolute value of the difference between the experimental value and the accepted value, divided by the accepted value, and then multiplying by 100. In this case, the experimental value would be (KE + PE) and the accepted value would be Etotal. So your equation would look like (|Etotal - (KE + PE)|/Etotal) * 100. This will give you the percent of error for each of your data points.

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