More useful apps are joining the countless — and often silly — applications available for iPhones, smart phones, and other web-enabled devices. Engineering data is now available from several sources, including fluid power component manufacturers as well as educational firms.

Engineers can use several engineering and technical scientific calculators and regulatory tools designed for iPhones as they are building or troubleshooting systems right in the field. The Formulator Series by MultiEducator Inc. is designed for engineers, architects, builders, and carpenters. These applications feature hundreds of formulas, graphics calculations, federal and state regulatory codes, and industrial code.

Packages range in price from $4.99 to $19.99. Two general engineering apps — Engineering Professional and Mechanical Engineer Formulator — offer more than 100 common conversion formulas covering a variety of components.

All the programs can be downloaded to an Apple iPhone or and iPod Touch and are available at the Apple iTunes Store. For more information visit www.multieducator.net.

Another recent app comes from seal manufacturer Bal Seal Engineering Inc., Foothill Ranch, Calif., which has developed a free app that lets engineers estimate PV (pressure-velocity factor) and seal performance life.

The “Pressure/Velocity and Seal Life Estimator” can be used with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad platform, as well as for Web-enabled smartphones. The app, which allows users to enter pressure, shaft diameter and speed, generates a PV value that can help engineers make more informed, intelligent sealing choices.

Other features of the new app include a built-in “tumbler” type utility that quickly converts units of pressure, speed, length, temperature, mass, torque, area, power, density, force and energy. A “Submit Info” option in the app’s simple navigation menu pre-loads all entered application data and, at the user’s discretion, e-mails it directly to Bal Seal for further application assistance.

The company says it developed the new app in an effort to provide OEM design engineers with a portable link to its engineering knowledge base and application experience.

Bal Seal marketing and new business development director Bill Nissim calls the new Pressure/Velocity and Seal Life Estimator a “natural extension” of the company’s launch of the LKS High PV Seal for critical oilfield applications. This seal, which consists of a graphite-reinforced, spring-energized PTFE sealing ring, PEEK anti-extrusion device and metal locking ring, provides a service life improvement of up to 150% over similar short-lip seals in high pressure, high velocity applications, Nissim says. Bal Seal’s new mobile app highlights this fact by returning an estimate of LKS Seal performance life (in hours) each time it delivers a PV number.

To download the Pressure/Velocity and Seal Life Estimator app for iPhone, iTouch or iPad, visit the Apple App Store (or iTunes) and search for “Seal Life Estimator.” Smartphone users can find and bookmark the mobile app. Engineers who want to learn more about the LKS High PV Seal.

Editor's update: To learn about a new app offered by Parker Hannifin's Hose Division, visit my blog, Fluid Power Talk and scroll to June 30, 2010.