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Biotransport Processes (BMEN30007)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeBMEN30007
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject introduces transport processes in biomedical systems, complementing and reinforcing material learned in related biology subjects. Students will be introduced to the process of developing engineering models and simple conceptual designs in the context of biological systems. The subject covers fundamental concepts of diffusion and conservation within momentum, heat and mass transport. Within momentum transport, specific topics include Newton’s law of viscosity, viscosity of gases and liquids, conservation of momentum, velocity distributions in simple laminar flows, boundary layer concepts and turbulence and the Reynolds number. Within heat transport, Fourier’s law of conduction is covered. Within mass transport, specific topics include Fick’s first and second laws of diffusion, diffusivities of gases, liquids and solids, binary mixture diffusion and conservation of mass, concentration distributions in simple binary systems including identifying appropriate boundary conditions, concentration boundary layer concepts, Schmidt and Sherwood numbers, definition and use of mass transfer coefficients.

Students will examine transport of molecules and cells in biological systems to describe various key processes, such as cell migration and provision of cell nutrition. The role of transport processes in biological systems and employed in clinical applications, such as dialysis, will be described using simple engineering models.


Topics covered include momentum transport, viscosity, turbulence, heat transport, mass transport, diffusion in binary systems, unsteady state mass transfer, and modelling biological transport processes.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe the fundamental concepts of momentum, heat and mass transfer.
  2. Understand the roles of transport processes in the cells, tissues and organ systems of the human body.
  3. Formulate problems in chemical and biological systems, identifying fundamental transport processes and the equations that describe these systems.
  4. Apply these principles to the solution of problems in process and biomedical engineering.
  5. Perform simple laboratory experiments that deepen and amplify theoretical concepts.

Generic skills

  • Ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals.
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
  • Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

Last updated: 13 September 2019