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Why this course

From medicine to food processing, from global warming to greenhouse design, from nanotechnology to weather prediction,

these disciplines all have transport (movement) of energy and/or mass as one of the fundamental underlying processes.  Let us consider three examples in the biomedical context.  As we breathe, oxygen diffuses through the walls of alveoli capillaries into the bloodstream.  How hot or cold we feel depends on the relative rates of heat generation inside the body and heat loss from the body surface due to convection and evaporation (of sweat).  In laser surgery, selected regions of tissue are destroyed using the heat from the laser.  Design of a tablet for sustained release of a drug over time requires manipulation of the diffusion of the drug through the various layers of the tablet.


Since transport processes are often critical to wide-ranging practical applications, it makes sense for engineers as problem solvers to develop a working knowledge of these processes, starting with their fundamentals.  Of course, we should study these fundamentals of transport processes in our context, i.e., biology and the environment, to be most relevant.  Such context can include bio-heat transfer (energy transfer in the presence of blood vessels) thermoregulation (control of body temperature), thermal therapy (heating or cooling as a medical procedure), cryobiology (behavior of cells and tissues at low temperature), global warming, pollutant transport through soil into groundwater and dispersion of pollutants in air.  We do not focus on these applications per se, but the underlying fundamentals that are critical to them.



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