Asee peer logo

Application Of The Finite Element Method (Fem) Instruction To Graduate Courses In Biological Engineering

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Curriculum and Laboratory Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.212.1 - 7.212.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Terry Walker

author page

Chang Kim

author page

Caye Drapcho

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu

Session: 2208

Application of Finite Element Method (FEM) Instruction to Graduate Courses in Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Chang S. Kim, Terry H. Walker, Caye M. Drapcho

Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 70803


The application of Finite Element Methods (FEM) to a graduate level course in Biological Engineering, Advanced Transport Phenomena in Biological Engineering, is presented. First, the Galerkin Weak Statement (GWS) was introduced to the class to show the fundamental theory of FEM by solving a 1D steady state heat transfer problem. This technique provides a more accurate solution with the estimation of error. The concept of error reduction through mesh refinement was also introduced. Each student was required to conduct an independent semester project incorporating mathematical modeling and simulation of a biological engineering problem. One of these projects, fixed bed ion exchange modeling, is discussed in this paper. The outputs from these class projects illustrate that the students gained experience in using FEM to solve dynamic biological engineering problems.


Computer aided modeling of new products has allowed industry to quickly optimize design while spending less time and money on physical prototypes. Bioprocess and food process engineers often deal with complex heterogeneous system characterized by non-Newtonian behavior. Solutions to partial differential equations that describe these complex systems are difficult to obtain. Advantages of using Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) prototyping in food and bioprocess development (Datta 1998; Baker et al. 1999) and application to mechanics of materials (Hillsman 1994) have been previously addressed They include: 1) quick and inexpensive testing of alternative scenarios that can result in reduced costs and increased profits, 2) clear understanding of the interactions between the physical processes and their sensitivity to various operational parameters, and 3) front-end engineering before prototyping, making the prototypes closer to optimum and reducing their number. Development of computer models to describe these complex bioprocessing systems is needed.

This paper addresses the experience in introducing Finite Element Methods (FEM) to a graduate level course in Biological Engineering in LSU, BE 7352, Advanced Transport Phenomena in Biological Engineering, during the fall semester of 2001. The course included

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Walker, T., & Kim, C., & Drapcho, C. (2002, June), Application Of The Finite Element Method (Fem) Instruction To Graduate Courses In Biological Engineering Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10498

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015