Propagation of Error

Jon D. Snyder
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Jon Snyder

A group of chemies touring Crane Brewery, started by a former student and his friends. That's me second from the right.

Jon Snyder is a lab teacher in chemical engineering. Jon used the finite difference method to solve models of chemical reactors while in graduate school. Although propagation of error had been deduced by others from the Taylor series and published decades ago in Russian and in English, their work was not well known. I independently found the relationship through modelling.

I came up with my Table Method in 2000, my first year as the lab manager for the Unit Operations Laboratory at the University of Kansas. A student declared that the heat exchanger was giving bad data as the energy balance of Qhot/Qcold was not 1.000. I showed that the energy balance error was significantly smaller than the predicted uncertainty in the energy balance. I have been teaching the method to those who will listen ever since.

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