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Human Bioenergetics Applications In A Fluid Mechanics Class

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Advancing Thermal Science Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.617.1 - 7.617.6

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Paper Authors

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Lang Wah Lee

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Tamer Ceylan

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

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Session 2166


Lang Wah Lee, Tamer Ceylan University of Wisconsin-Platteville


Fluid mechanics is blessed with so many applications from our daily life. This paper focuses on human bioenergetics and its applications in a fluid mechanics class by giving specific examples. While some subjects are appropriate for lectures, others are more appropriate for class discussions or various types of student assignments including essays. Among many fascinating opportunities for analysis, blood flow through arteries and veins is related to the study of fluid properties, hydrostatics, pressure variation in accelerating fluids, pipe flow, and piping networks. The approach resulted in a higher level of interest and motivation, a better comprehension of the subject matter, and a higher overall satisfaction with the class.

I. Introduction

In the new millennium, engineering faculty face many challenges. One of the main challenges is to develop new curricula and pedagogy to meet the rapid development in technology. Across the country, considerable efforts have been made in recent years to make the teaching/learning of fluid mechanics more relevant and interesting to students. These efforts can be divided into the following four categories: (a) development of short open-ended design problems and classroom demonstrations/experiments [1,2]; (b) integration of courses in thermo-fluids areas into a sequence in the undergraduate curriculum [3]; (c) application of computer software to facilitate the teaching of fluid mechanics [4]; and (d) adoption of multi-media and computer-based textbooks to promote active learning. To further such efforts, we have explored the feasibility of using circulatory system in human bodies to illustrate basic principles in fluid mechanics. The effort started in the spring of 2001.

Most fluid mechanics textbooks traditionally rely heavily on mathematics and abstract concepts. Examples and problems in these texts usually focus on areas of transportation and industrial processing which are unfamiliar to many sophomore and junior engineering students. Such a situation often created a misconception among students that learning the subjects is to memorize equations, and doing the homework is just a “plug-and-chug” process in manipulating equations. To change this mindset and to enhance the effectiveness of learning, new examples and problems are needed. These examples and problems must be relevant to the objectives of the course, interesting and stimulating to students, and closely related to their daily experience. Among many fascinating opportunities for studies, blood flow through arteries and veins seems to fit the requirements.

The circulatory system in human bodies consists of a pump (heart), blood (fluid), and blood vessels (piping networks). The operation of the system follows the fundamental laws of fluid mechanics.

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Lee, L. W., & Ceylan, T. (2002, June), Human Bioenergetics Applications In A Fluid Mechanics Class Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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