Case Studies and White Papers

Mixing it up with Computer-Aided Design

Published: November 1997
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

With the latest computer software, today's formulators can take advantage of a powerful tool: design of experiments (DOE) for mixtures. DOE methods use test arrays that produce maximum information from minimal runs. Industrial experimenters typically turn to two-level factorials as their first attempt at DOE. However, mixture design accounts for the dependence of response on proportionality of ingredients where factorial design does not. If you formulate chemicals, food or other products, consider using mixture design rather than factorials or related optimization methods. To show you how, follow along as we conduct a kitchen chemistry experiment on pound cake.

Publication: Today's Chemist at Work

Software Sleuth Solves Engineering Problems

Published: June 1997
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

Engineers at an aluminum-casting company were struggling to understand why a particular part came off the line filled with inclusions. Having conducted many one-factor-at-a-time tests to no avail, they turned to statistical software and a process called design of experiments. Optimizing based on this process let the engineers reduce the defect rate to zero.

Publication: Machine Design

Published: June 1997
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

In many rubber and plastics processes, powerful interactions affect final performance. These remain undiscovered via traditional one-factor-at-a-time scientific methods. Multifactor design of experiments (DOE) reveals these interactions that lead to breakthrough improvements in process efficiency and product quality. The big gains come from a very simple form of DOE called two-level factorial design. This approach to experimentation has proven to be especially helpful for control of part shrinkage as demonstrated in a case study. However, it can be applied to any measurable response in rubber and plastics production. This primer provides the essential details on two-level factorial DOE from an engineering perspective with an emphasis on the practical aspects.

Publication: Rubber & Plastics News

Computer-Aided Design of Experiments for Formulations

Published: June 1997
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

See how to apply statistically based design of experiments (DOE) for mixtures - a proven method for making breakthrough improvements in cost and performance. Ultimately you may discover a sweet spot where all your customer specifications can be satisfied. To illustrate the method, this article lays out a case study on the formulation of rheology modifiers. (A somewhat different version of this article appeared in Modern Paint and Coatings.)

Publication: Modern Paint and Coatings

Optimize Your Process-Optimization Efforts

Published: December 1996
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

What would you do it confronted with an "opportunity" to make a major change, involving many factors, but you need to do it quickly? The traditional approach to experimentation requires you to change only one factor at a time (OFAT). However, the OFAT approach doesn’t provide data on interactions of factors, a likely occurrence with chemical processes. An alternative approach called “two-level factorial design” can uncover critical interactions. This statistically based method involves simultaneous adjustment of experimental factors at only two levels, offering a parallel testing scheme that’s much more efficient than the serial approach of OFAT.

Publication: Chemical Engineering Progress

Published: May 1996
Authors: Mark Anderson, Patrick Whitcomb

Talk by Pat Whitcomb and Mark Anderson that was presented at the 50th Annual Quality Congress.

Publication: Conference

Applying DOE to Microwave Popcorn

Published: July 1993
Authors: Mark Anderson, Hank Anderson

Design of experiments identifies which factors matter and which ones don't when microwaving popcorn, as well as helping find optimal settings.

Publication: Process Industries Quality

A Simple Comparative Experiment with Paper Clips

Published: January 1992
Author: Mark Anderson

Details and demonstrates a fun experiment to do at home or in class to build understanding of variation and how it can be handled with simple comparative designs. For teaching purposes it works best if each student breaks two brands of clips, thus providing data for a paired t-test, which blocks out variability due to the tester.

An updated version of paper-clip experiment is provided in the June 2009 Stat-Teaser posted at

Publication: Stat-Ease, Inc.