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Course Goals

Engineers are problem solvers, albeit in a quantitative way.  The eventual goal of this course is for you to be able to formulate a problem from the biological or environmental world (involving energy or mass transport) quantitatively, i.e., using equations, so that you can understand these processes more accurately and optimize them more easily.

When the course is over, you should:

  • know the basic nature of the transport processes of conduction, convection, radiation, mass diffusion, dispersion and mass convection, and the laws governing them;
  • know the basic conservation equations describing these processes;
  • know the properties of biomaterials that influence the rates of some of these transport processes;
  • know about zero and first order reactions (that are often present in biological and environmental processes) and how those reactions affect the conservation equations; and
  • be able to formulate and solve simpler biological and environmental transport processes to obtain engineering insight into them.

The course goals are not to:

  • make you an expert in any one application area — biological or environmental; this is an engineering science course, similar to statics and fluid mechanics that you have already taken that emphasizes the fundamentals as building blocks.  What you learn you can apply to many areas, but we will focus on biological and environmental applications.
  • make you an expert in mathematical analysis.  The mathematical content has been truly minimized.


Remember, you are an engineer first, transport process specialist next.


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