Postgraduate taught 

Biomedical Engineering MSc

Biological Fluid Mechanics M ENG5286

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course in Biological Fluid Mechanics covers the study of fluid flow in major human organ systems, and fluid flow within and over some selected medical devices and implants. This course involves, as an example, engineering models for Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, creeping flow, laminar and turbulent flow, flow through flexible tissue, pressures and flow in the circulatory and pulmonary systems, lubrication between joints, microfluidics.


2 lectures per week

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses

ENG3011 Biological Fluid Mechanics 3




80% Written Examination

20% Report

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ introduce students to the micro and macro scale fluid phenomena and transport processes in major human organ systems (cells, lungs, circulation and liver/kidneys);

■ use mathematical models of fluid momentum and mass transfer via the Navier-Stokes equations, boundary layer equations, Stokes equations and Euler equation;

■ consider turbulence in pipe flow and empirical relations for turbulence;

■ apply non-Newtonian effects in biological fluid flows;

■ demonstrate how the fluid governing equations may be reduced to solve biological fluid problems involving: creeping flow, fully developed pipe flow, pulsatile flow in pipes;

■ demonstrate to students the use of mathematical models of fluid flow across cell membranes, in micro-channels (microfluidics), in joint lubrication, and pulsatile flow in arteries;

■ develop an interest in fluid mechanics and an acquisition of the necessary mathematical skills to model fluid phenomena occurring in vivo and in vitro;

■ introduce students to the statistical mechanics concepts governing the biological fluid mechanics at micro length scale;

■ apply modern experimental methods to the characterization of the mechanical (i.e., viscoelastic) properties of biological fluids.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ calculate the effects of air pressure on the pulmonary system and design elements of an assisted breathing system for high altitude;

■ outline the basic steps required to solve biofluid transport problems;

■ make simplifying assumptions to the governing fluid equations to determine appropriate mathematical models of blood flow in a capillary or microfluidic device, fluid flow in a joint, blood flow in an artery;

■ analyse the lubrication of a knee or hip joint for various loading conditions;

■ determine the volumetric flow rate and pressure drop in a simple biological two phase flow;

■ calculate the volumetric flow rate of a non-Newtonian Casson fluid through a tube;

■ evaluate hydraulic conductivity for a porous membrane;

■ model the fully developed velocity profile and volumetric flow rate in a straight artery in pulsatile flow;

■ describe the elements of an artificial dialysis machine;

■ assess the mechanical (i.e., viscoelastic) properties of biological fluids.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend the timetabled laboratory classes.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.