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Multinomial distributions applied to random sampling of particulate materials

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When sampling a batch consisting of particulate material, the distribution of a sample estimator can be characterized using knowledge about the sample drawing process. With Bernoulli sampling, the number of particles in the sample is binomially distributed. Because this is rarely realized in practice, we propose a sampling design in which the possible samples have a nearly equal mass. Expected values and variances of the sample estimator are calculated. It is shown that the sample estimator becomes identical to the Horvitz–Thompson estimator in the case of a large batch-to-sample mass ratio and a large sample mass. Simulations and experiments were performed to test the theory. Simulations confirm that the round-off error due to the discrete nature of particles is negligible for large sample sizes. Sampling experiments were carried out with a mixture of PolyPropylene (PP) and PolyTetraFluorEthylene (PTFE) spheres suspended in a viscous medium. The measured and theoretical variations are in good agreement.
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Keywords: Gy; Horvitz; Thompson; design; distribution; error; estimator; mass; multinomial; particle; sample; sampling; variance

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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