Biotransport Processes

Subject BMEN30007 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 x 1 hour lectures + 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week + 2 x 90 minutes of laboratory work per semester
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated 170 hours


Undergraduate Students:

Students must have completed the following subjects (or equivalent) prior to enrolling in this subject:

One of the following:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


One of the following:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2


One of the following:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2

Postgraduate students:

Admission to the MC-ENG Master of Engineering (Biomedical) or (Biomedical with Business)



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering applications for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005) and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, this subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the Subject Co-ordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit


Assoc Prof Andrea O'Connor


Assoc Prof Andrea O'Connor


Subject Overview:


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.

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.

  • Attendance and participation in two laboratory classes (10% total, 5% each) each with a written assignment of approximately 250 words (not including equations, graphs and diagrams) in Weeks 3 to 11 each requiring 5 to 7 hours of work including preparation. Intended Learning Outcome (ILO) 5 is addressed in these laboratory classes
  • Five written assignments (5% total, 1% each) each of approximately 100 words (not including equations, graphs and diagrams) due between weeks 2 to 12, each requiring 1 to 2 hours of work. ILOs 1 to 4 are addressed in the assignments
  • One written 90-minute test (15%) held in Weeks 5 to 7. ILOs 1 and 3 are addressed in the test
  • One written 3-hour closed book end-of-semester examination (70%). ILOs 1 to 4 are addressed in the exam.

Hurdle requirement: The examination is a hurdle and a mark of 40% or more in the examination is required to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
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.



The subject will be delivered through a combination of lectures and tutorials. Students will also complete two experiments which will reinforce the material covered in lectures.


Students will have access to lecture notes and tutorial problem sheets with solution guides for tutorial problems provided after the tutorials.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Bioengineering Systems
Master of Engineering (Biomedical with Business)
Master of Engineering (Biomedical)
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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