University of Florida

ABE 3652C - ABE 5653C
Physical and Rheological Properties of Biological Materials

Semester Taught - Spring

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

 Theory and use of physical and rheological properties of biological materials in agricultural and biological engineering applications


CHM 2045, MAC 2313 and PHY 2048

Course Objectives

  • Acquire the fundamental knowledge of physical and rheological properties that is needed for the engineering design, testing and analysis of systems, processes and components used in the processing, storage and handling of biological materials.
  • Master technical writing skills by submitting weekly technical reports complete with summary, objectives, methodology, and presentation of results following rules of convention for tabular and graphical data presentation.
  • Engage in team building and teamwork experiences through self-directed team formation and organization, with grades based on team output and teammate evaluation.
  • Master the use of modern computational and experimental testing equipment such as, state-of-the-art universal testing machine, gas pycnometer, triaxial compression test, and computer data acquisition and analysis with spreadsheet software.

Contributions of Course to Meeting the Professional Component for ABET

This course contributes 3 credit hours toward meeting the minimum 48 credit hours of Engineering Topics in the basic-level curriculum for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Relationship of Course to Program Outcomes

From the list of (a) through (k) program outcomes listed below, this course addresses the following (a), (b), (d), (g), and (k).

ABET Program Outcomes

  • (a) Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • (b) Design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data
  • (c) Design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
  • (d) Function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • (e) Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • (f) Understand professional and ethical responsibilities
  • (g) Communicate effectively
  • (h) Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  • (i) Recognize the need for, and engage in life long learning
  • (j) Understand contemporary engineering issues
  • (k) Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice


Dr. William Pelletier
Office location: 101 Rogers Hall
Telephone: Work - 352-392-1864 x 101
E-mail address:

 Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

Lecture Notes and Lab Manual, Florida Book Store, 1614 West University Avenue.

Recommended Reading

Physical Properties of Plant and Animal Materials by Nuri N. Mohsenin; Gordon and Breach Publishers  

Course Outline

Topics Covered

  • Introduction to Lab Procedures/Reports
  • Structure and Composition of Biological Materials
  • Moisture Content and Water Activity
  • Physical Characteristics (Shape and Size)
  • Density Gradient Column
  • Volume and Density
  • Porosity and Surface Area
  • Specific Surface Area, Particle Size Distribution
  • Introduction to Rheology
  • Modulus of Elasticity, Bulk, Shear, Young's
  • Force/Deformation, Stress/Strain
  • Analysis of Force/Deformation and Stress/Strain Data
  • Creep and Relaxation
  • Strain Retardation and Stress Relaxation
  • Rheology of Liquids/Fluids
  • Flow Behavior Properties
  • Mechanical Impact
  • Aerodynamic Properties
  • Friction/Particle Mechanics: Basic Concepts
  • Angle of Repose and Internal Friction
  • Flow of Granular Materials
  • Storage of Granular Materials

Laboratory Exercises

  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS I (size and shape, sphericity)
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS II (volume, density, porosity)
  • RHEOLOGY OF SOLIDS I (Young's Shear and Bulk Modulus)
  • RHEOLOGY OF SOLIDS II (stress-strain relationships)
  • RHEOLOGY OF SOLIDS III (Creep, Stress relaxation)
  • PARTICLE MECHANICS I (Angle of friction and repose)
  • PARTICLE MECHANICS II (Mohr envelope of failure

Attendance and Expectations

Attendance (on time) at all lectures and labs is expected from all students at all times.  Cell phones must be turned off prior to the start of class.  No food will be permitted in class. 


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

Grading Scale
A 91-100%
B 81-90%
C 71-80%
D 61-70%
E <61%
Grading Method ABE 3652 ABE 5653
Graduate Project   20%
Exam 1 25% 20%
Exam 2 25% 20%
Final Exam 25% 20%
Lab Reports 25% 20%

No make-up exams will be given except for valid medical reasons or unless prior arrangements have been made.

Academic Honesty

In 1995 the UF student body enacted an honor code and voluntarily committed itself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. When students enroll at the university, they commit themselves to the standard drafted and enacted by students.

The Honor Pledge: We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

On all work submitted for credit by students at the university, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Students should report any condition that facilitates dishonesty to the instructor, department chair, college dean, Student Honor Council, or Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in the Dean of Students Office.

(Source: 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog)

It is assumed all work will be completed independently unless the assignment is defined as a group project, in writing by the instructor.

This policy will be vigorously upheld at all times in this course.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and students of the university are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against university policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,