Biological Fluid Dynamics



Dr. D.E. RivalMcLaughlin Hall, Room 533-6000 x74767

Course Description

An introductory course on biological flows across a broad range of scales from flagellar motility to the beating heart. Topics range from the dynamics of classical biomedical lows such as the circulatory and respiratory systems (e.g. wall compliance, pulsatility, and transition to turbulence) through to cellular-level motility and bio-propulsion in general over a range of Reynolds numbers. Topics relating to comparative biology (e.g. allometry and evolutionary convergence) and common imaging techniques used for  biological flows (e.g. acoustic, nuclear magnetic resonance, optical and x-ray techniques) will be covered as well.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to have sufficient experience with measurement science and fluid-dynamics theory equivalent to MECH217 and MECH341, respectively. Those who have not taken such courses will need to prepare through self-study.

Objectives and Outcomes

Relevance to the Program

Course Structure and Activities

Individual Assignments
Assignments will be inspired by lecture and tutorial content and need to be submitted individually (online). Group work (collaboration) is encouraged but direct copying is strictly not allowed.

In-Class Tests
The tests are written during class time and they can involve questions that are a mixture of analysis, calculation, short answer and even multiple choice. Assignments will help prepare for these tests but also questions may be derived from tutorials, guest lectures and even discussion in lectures. Individual class notes will be permitted in tests. However, no texts, tablets or laptops can be used during these evaluations.

Individual Project (Proposal, Report and Presentation)
More information about the various project components can be found in associated documents on the class OnQ site.


Required textbook
• There is no required textbook for this course but a number of sources will be provided.
Required calculator
• A Casio 991 OR a comparable calculator. ONLY this type of non-programmable, noncommunicating calculator will be allowed during tests and exams.
Other material
• All other course material is accessible via the class website. Once you have completed reading this Course Outline in detail, explore the Content link on the class OnQ site to find the module specific material.