Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ENGI4637: Physiological Fluid Mechanics

Department: Engineering

ENGI4637: Physiological Fluid Mechanics

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to H100
Tied to H106
Tied to H108
Tied to H911
Tied to H912
Tied to H913


  • ENGI2231 Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics 2


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module is designed solely for students studying Department of Engineering degree programmes.
  • To present the properties of physiological fluids.
  • To provide an overview of the characteristics of fluid flows in the arterial system and various organs.
  • Enable the students to identify differences of arterial waves’ patterns in health and disease.
  • To introduce with analytical methods and mathematical modelling tools for understanding arterial waves and reflections in the circulatory system.


  • Introduction to rheology and structure of the flexible walled branching system of the circulation.
  • Determination of arterial wave speed and its clinical application.
  • Theory of the 1-D wave propagation and reflection in flexible tubes (Method of Characteristics)
  • Pressure and flow waves variation in the systemic and pulmonary circulations.
  • Physiological measurements including basics of imaging.
  • Analysis of arterial wave intensity.
  • Flow in the microcirculation.
  • Air flow in lungs.
  • Introduction to fluid flow in various organs.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A historical account of the development of the haemodynamics field.
  • A knowledge of mathematical models currently used/being developed for studying physiological flows.
  • An appreciation of the difficulties of modelling physiological problems and limitations of such models.
  • An understanding of the potential use of relevant calculated parameters as diagnostic tools.
  • A knowledge of trends of using imaging techniques with haemodynamics.
  • An understanding of the equations describing travelling of waves and their application.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability of applying fundamental fluid mechanics knowledge in bioengineering field.
  • An awareness of current physical models used in assessing performance of the physiological flow system.
  • An introduction to analytical and modelling methods used in studying physiological flows.
  • Develop an ability to communicate the results of work effectively.
Key Skills:
  • Capacity for independent self-learning within the bounds of professional practice.
  • Specialised modelling skills for complex biological system appropriate to a bioengineer.
  • Mathematics relevant to the application of advanced engineering concepts.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module content is delivered in lectures and is reinforced by problem sheets, equipping students with the required problem-solving capability.
  • Students can make use of staff 'office hours' to discuss any aspect of the module with teaching staff on a one-to-one basis. These are sign-up sessions available for one hour per week per lecture course.
  • Written timed examinations are appropriate because of the wide range of analytical, in-depth material covered in this module and allow students to demonstrate the ability to solve advanced problems independently.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Typically 1 per week 1 Hour 20
Tutorial Hours As required Weekly sign-up sessions 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 70
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University