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Scuba Diving Math – Conversions made easy October 19, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Miscellany, Training.
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This a cool little web page that uses dimensional analysis to do unit conversions. You can just enter any amount of any unit it supports (which are many), and the units you’d like to convert them to, and as long as they’re compatible, it will figure it out.

For instance, if you enter atmosphere, and the result unit as pound/inch^2 (you can also enter psi, it knows that one), it will give you 14.696, which is the atmospheric pressure in pounds per square inch.

It also knows a lot of constants, like dens_sea_water, which with the result unit as pound/foot^3 (pounds per cubic foot) will give you 63.9887 (like the 64 pounds per cubic foot you learn in scuba class).

Some things it does I don’t understand, like entering atmosphere/(63.9887 pound/foot^3) with the result unit as feet, gives the correct answer as 33.0718 feet. This is the derivation of the 33 feet depth of sea water (33FSW) for every additional atmosphere of pressure underwater. You simply take the pressure of the atmosphere and divide it by the density of sea water, specifying feet as the result unit, and the program worries about the tedious job of converting the units. You can also say meters, and it will give back 10.0803, if you prefer metric. However, using atmosphere/dens_sea_water results in an error. Maybe I’m missing something.

Something it does that’s pretty amazing is that you don’t even have to enter the / sign to make the thing work. All you do is put in atmosphere;(63.9887 pound/foot^3) and whatever unit of length you like in the result field, and it figures out what to do based on the units.

Anyway a fun tool to apply to Scuba calculations. It looks like the company that makes it isn’t doing very much. All they’re selling is a Palm OS version of the software.

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