Why do we need to see plots of how the meters are responding as a function of time?
There are several reasons for plotting the output. A few that come to mind are listed below:
Using an RS232 port, plotting the data is the best way to know if a meter's output is stable or not stable.
You can perform experiments that involve determining the induction time.
That is, plotting the data makes it easy to determine the time needed for a given process
(such as nucleation and subsequent crystal growth or precipitation) to begin.
You can perform kinetics experiments. For example, you can use ion selective electrodes (ISE)
to view the change in the concentrations present. Plotting the data as a function of time will
give you the kinetics of the reaction. But perhaps it is diffusion controlled.
There are many variations to how these experiments can be pursued.
You can perform experiments that vary with the light from the day/night cycle.
These changes can be slow and subtle to catch.
There may be plenty of noise with the results,
but plotting the data may show that small changes
are taking place.
You can save the plot and have a record of the measurements made for others to see and study.
This is particularly useful if you wish to ask questions about the measurements made.
Showing a plot of the data is always easier than describing it in words.
You can even email the results to your colleagues.
You can project the plot in real time in a classroom setting.
This will enhance the learning experience.
It will help you draw the students into a participatory mode.
Students often do not really understand meters.
With many of them, they just see numbers but cannot see the patterns.
Is it stable enough? Is it drifting due to other inputs (such as atmospheric inputs)?
I have found that plots of these outputs have greatly shortened their learning curve.
More importantly to me, the students will also see newer and more complex questions to be asking.