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Detailed Description



Graphical Presentation of Water-Quality Data & Mixing
Analysis in One Easy-to-Use Plotting Software


  • Incorporates complete two- and three-way mixing analysis using all possible sample permutations and prints mixing probabilities in tabular form.
  • A percent error limit may be specified for mixing results. For two-way mixing, a straight line tolerance is specified.
  • Up to four diagrams (Stiff, Radial, Pie, Bar) may be plotted per page with the scales and constituent assignments determined by the user.
  • Input data units include epm, ppm, mgl, and meq/l. Concentrations are displayed along with anion/cation summaries and constituent percentages.
  • Colors for borders, labels, diagrams, diagram labels, diagram numbers, dashed lines, concentration circles and sample points may be selected.
  • Three options for Piper (Trilinear) Diagrams: separate symbols, multiple sample symbol representation, and sample points represented by dots.
  • Up to 1,000 samples may be processed in a single run.
  • Either sample collection date or Well ID's may be placed on Trilinear Diagrams.
  • Concentration circles (arithmetic or logarithmic) may be drawn to scale on Trilinear diagrams.
  • Cross hatching may be omitted from Trilinear diagrams for ease of viewing.
  • Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) is computed.
  • Anion/cation balances are presented in tabular form in all units.
  • Anion/cation selection has been expanded to include additional major, secondary, minor and trace constituents.

Easy to Learn and Simple to Use

PLOTCHEM has the common Windows look and feel making the software easy to learn and simple to use. Sample data may be easily added, deleted or modified.


Data may either be entered manually or imported via a comma-delimited ASCII file. Project specific information, Well ID's, dates and other data may be entered. Existing PLOTCHEM batch files may be imported.

PLOTCHEM Graphical Output

Hundreds of diagrams may be generated. Graphics may be saved in DXF or HPGL format.

PLOTCHEM Program Usage

The procedure for running the program is extremely simple. The user first enters all data samples (up to 1,000) through the main window (Figure 1). Then, options may be selected, plots generated and printed. Toolbar buttons are provided for:

  • moving to the last sample
  • moving back one sample
  • moving forward one sample
  • moving to the last sample
  • deleting a sample
  • adding a sample

The Cations and Anions are listed with edit boxes for entering the corresponding numerical values. Only those selected for Pie, Bar, Radial, and Stiff diagrams as well as those required for Trilinear diagrams appear in the data entry window.

Specific Gravity may also be entered for each sample. Project/Well/Laboratory data, Labels, and Legends for plots will be entered by default.


The following describes the menu items in PLOTCHEM.

File - File functions

New - Create a new PLOTCHEM (empty) file.
Open - Open an existing PLOTCHEM file.
Save - Resave the open PLOTCHEM file.
Save As - Save the new PLOTCHEM data.
Import File - Import either a DOS PLOTCHEM batch file or a Comma-Separated Value (CSV) file from a spreadsheet program such as Excel. This selection opens an Import File dialog box. The assumed extension for the batch files is '.PCB'. The assumed extension for the CSV file is '.CSV'.
Print - Send a file to the printer - either sample data table, mixing analysis results or plot.
Print Preview - Preview sample data table, mixing analysis results or plots.
Print Set - Set Printer parameters.
Exit - Exit the PLOTCHEM program.

Input Data - Input Data Options

Miscellaneous - The user may specify the diagrams which may be generated and input/output units. The Miscellaneous dialog box is shown in Figure 3.
Pie, Bar, Radial - The constituents are selected for Pie, Bar and Radial diagrams. If scaling is desired, a scale factor may be entered for each diagram type. Scale factors apply to all plots (one to four) on a page. The dialog box is shown in Figure 4.

Two constituent components may be specified for each Cation and Anion. Each component of the three Cation and Anion constituents are selected from dropdown lists. A "blank" line indicates that no selection is made.

The possible Cation and Anion constituents are:

Cations Anions
Ca SO4
Fe Cl
Sr CO3
Al F
Mn Br
Li PO4
Ba I

The constituents are selected for Stiff diagrams. If scaling is desired, a scale factor may be entered. Scale factors apply to all plots (one to four) on a page for a stiff diagram.

Two constituent components may be specified for each Cation and Anion. Each component of the four Cation and Anion constituents are selected from dropdown lists. A "blank" line indicates that no selection is made. The possible Cations and Anions are shown above.

The Stiff diagrams are constructed using four horizontal lines and eight constituents (or combinations). The two dashed middle lines may be omitted, if desired.

Many options apply to Trilinear diagrams.

Three methods are available for generating Trilinear Diagrams:

  • Each symbol on the Trilinear diagram represents a separate sample. Up to 100 separate symbols may be used.
  • A symbol may represent many overlapping sample points on the Trilinear diagram. In this case, up to 36 symbols may be shown on the diagram.
  • A dot (.) represents each sample.
  • The cross-hatches on the triangular and diamond areas of the Trilinear diagram may be omitted for clarity.

    The size of the Trilinear diagram may be maximized by omitting Labels and Legends from the diagram.

    NO3, if selected, is included with Cl, and PO4, if selected, is included with HCO3 and CO3 on the Trilinear diagram.

    Circles whose radii represent the total concentrations expressed in meq/l may be drawn in the diamond field of the diagram. Either an arithmetic or logarithmic scale may be used. The maximum Arithmetic Concentration circle radius may be specified.

    Labels and Legends may be placed on the Trilinear diagram. The labels may be omitted, if desired, by leaving blank fields.

    Sample - Show sample data in main Window.

    PLOTCHEM Options - Colors - The colors for various parts of the plots may be selected.

    PLOTCHEM Analysis - Perform Mixing Analysis
    Two- and/or Three-way mixing analyses may be performed only if a Trilinear diagram is selected. Two-way mixing analysis (requiring at least two samples) checks all possible permutations of three points to determine which points fall on or within a specified tolerance of a straight line and which potentially represent mixing between two end members. The assumption is that when two waters mix in some proportion and the products remain in the solution, the mixture will plot on a straight line between the two end members in all three fields of the Trilinear diagram. The total mixture concentration must be between the concentrations of the two end members. The specific constituents must be in proportionate values. Constituent errors for all postulated points are presented.

    • Three-way mixing analysis postulates mixing of three end members. At least four sample points are required for three-way mixing. A postulated mixture point must lie within triangles formed by the three end members in all three fields of the diagram.
    • Since mixing analysis can potentially create a very large amount of hardcopy output, a percent error limit may be specified. Output is generated only for those mixing sets having all constituent errors below this limit. For example, the percent errors between postulated and calculated values may be very large and should be eliminated from consideration.
    • The percent error tolerance is entered. If a postulated mixing point does not fall within this tolerance, that combination of points is eliminated from consideration in Two-way mixing analysis.
  • As all possible sets of three points are checked, if a postulated mixing point falls away from a straight line by more than this tolerance, that set of three points is rejected from consideration as a mixing system.

    PLOTCHEM Printing - Prints either Mixing results or Sample data.

    Mixing Results - Two- and/or Three-way mixing analyses results may be printed if they were generated.

    Sample Data - Sample data in all units may be printed. Anion/Cation balances may be printed.

    Specify the type and number of plots to be generated. Also specify whether HPGL or DXF files are to be saved.

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