Would you consider doing serious process design on your phone?

The introduction last January of Alph, RedTree Development's process calculator for the iPhone and iPod Touch, showed that modern smart phones are capable of solving sophisticated flowsheet and distillation problems. However, many engineers might find it hard to seriously consider doing real work on such a small device. Furthermore, the prices of iPhone apps may well add to impression that they cannot be serious tools.

To counter those concerns, the Calgary, Alberta-based RedTree has introduced Alph version 1.3, which runs natively on the iPad.

"The iPad just seems like more of a work device," says RedTree's Craig Morris, "and it is certainly friendlier for fat-fingered, weak-eyed folks like me to work with. ...With almost eight times as much screen area as the iPhone, the iPad certainly provides a much less cramped workspace and more professional feel."

The iPad and iPhone application utilizes Virtual Materials Group’s applied thermodynamics and process simulation database. The Alph application utilizes only a portion of VMG's database of compounds and only its Advanced Peng Pobinson and Steam95 property packages. Still, according to the developers, a range of light hydrocarbon, refrigeration, air separation and petrochemical problems can be addressed by the software.