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Water 2013, 5(3), 1279-1302; doi:10.3390/w5031279

Setting Target Measurement Uncertainty in Water Analysis

CCMM-DQB, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, Lisbon 1749-016, Portugal
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 7 August 2013 / Accepted: 14 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Chemistry of Water)
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Water is the most frequently and thoroughly characterised product due to the impact of the chemical composition of water of different sources or destinations on public health and on economy. The adequacy of water characterisation relies on measurement quality, which is a function of measurement traceability and uncertainty. In some analytical fields, target values of measurement performance parameters are set to ensure that the measurements quality is fit for the intended use. Nevertheless, frequently, these performance parameters do not allow the control of the magnitude of relevant components of measurement uncertainty. This work discusses the need for assessing fitness of the measurement for its intended use through the magnitude of uncertainty associated to the measurement value. The way this evaluation should be performed, when no guidelines are available, is also suggested. Target values of relevant performance parameters, results of interlaboratory tests, or the magnitude of trends of the measured quantity, are some types of information useful to define the maximum admissible uncertainty, i.e., target uncertainty. The information and algorithms used to define the target uncertainty are presented from the most suitable to the less likely to produce consensual values. Calculations are illustrated with application examples of different analytical fields. In this work, the way in which variability of uncertainty evaluation is taken into account when comparing estimated with target uncertainty is also discussed.
Keywords: target uncertainty; quality; validation; water analysis target uncertainty; quality; validation; water analysis

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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da Silva, R.J.B. Setting Target Measurement Uncertainty in Water Analysis. Water 2013, 5, 1279-1302.

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