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# Sankey Diagram. Energy flow charts of the US and China

This post is a part of my notes on linear algebra.

A **Sankey diagram** is a visual display of the flow of a scalar. In a Sankey diagram, the width of each branch of the flow is proportional to the magnitude of the scalar.

**Flow of a scalar**. Water flows from mountains to oceans. Commodities flow from producers to consumers. Money changes hands. Electric charge flows in circuits. The flow of a scalar can often be complex, from many sources, via many branches, to many sinks.

An excellent way to visualize the flow of a scalar is to plot a Sankey diagram, in which the width of each branch of the flow is proportional to the magnitude of the scalar, and different branches are additive. Thus, a Sankey diagram visualizes the flow by taking advantage of the scalar properties: additivity, scalability, and proportionality.

**Energy flow chart**. Every year the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory publishes a Sankey diagram of the flow of energy in the United States. The diagram is called the energy flow chart.

I wrote a google doc to explain the Sankey diagram to sudents in my undergraduate class on linear algebra. I also attach a pdf file below.

Attachment | Size |
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Sankey Diagram.pdf | 947.07 KB |

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