University of Florida

ABE 3612C
Heat and Mass Transfer in Biological Systems

Semester Taught - Fall

Catalog Description

Credits: 4

Transport phenomena, steady and unsteady state heat conduction, radiation, free and forced convection, mass transfer, psychometrics, thermodynamics of biological processes.


MAP 2302 or EGM 3311 and EML 3007; Coreq: CGN 2425 or equivalent.

Course Objectives

  • Provide students with the fundamental knowledge needed to successfully practice the profession of agricultural and biological engineering in the area of heat and mass transfer.
  • Train students to design, test, and analyze systems and processes that involve transport phenomena.
  • Train students to formulate and solve heat and mass transfer problems and to use modern computational and experimental equipment.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be capable of analyzing heat and mass transfer processes and making design calculations for many agricultural and biological engineering applications.

This course will help students develop their ability to a) apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering, b) conduct experiments, analyze and interpret data, c) identify, formulate and solve engineering problems, d) communicate effectively (through lab reports and class discussion, and e) use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

The course will consist of 3 lectures and 1 laboratory per week, problem sets, quizzes and examinations. Some of the laboratory sessions will be used to work example problems and for discussions.

Contributions of Course to Meeting the Professional Component for ABET

This course contributes 4 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), (e), (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


William Pelletier
Office: 290 Rogers Hall
Phone: 392-1864 EXT 290

 Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

Textbook Required

Cengel, Y.A., Heat Transfer , A Practical Approach, 3rd Ed. McGraw-Hill. N.Y. 2006.

Recommended Reading

Class notes and material on WebCT  

Course Outline

  • Basic Concepts of Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
    • Thermodynamics and heat transfer
    • Engineering heat transfer
    • Heat and other forms of energy
    • The first law of thermodynamics
    • Heat transfer mechanisms
    • Simultaneous heat transfer mechanisms
  • Heat Conduction Equation
    • Introduction
    • One-dimension heat conduction equation
    • General heat conduction equation
    • Boundary and initial conditions
    • Solution steady one-dimensional heat conduction
    • Heat generation in a solid
    • Variable thermal conductivity
  • Steady Heat Conduction
    • Steady heat conduction in plane walls
    • Thermal contact resistance
    • Generalized thermal resistance networks
    • Heat conduction in cylinders and spheres
    • Critical radius of insulation
    • Thermal insulation
    • Transfer in common configurations
  • Transient Heat Conduction
    • Lumped system analysis
    • Transient heat conduction in large plane walls, long cylinders,
      and spheres.
    • Transient heat conduction in semi-infinite solids
    • Transient heat conduction in multidimensional systems
  • Numerical Methods in Heat Conduction
    • Why numerical methods?
    • Finite difference formulation of differential equations
    • One-dimensional steady heat conduction
    • Two-dimensional steady heat conduction
    • Transient heat conduction
    • Controlling the numerical error
  • Forced Convection
    • Physical mechanism of forced-convection
    • Velocity boundary layer
    • Thermal boundary layer
    • Flow over flat plates
    • Flow across cylinders and spheres
    • Flow in tubes
  • Natural convection
    • Physical mechanisms of natural convection
    • Natural convection over surfaces
    • Natural convection inside enclosures
    • Natural convection from finned surfaces
    • Combined natural and forced convection
  • Radiation Heat Transfer
    • Introduction
    • Thermal radiation
    • Blackbody radiation
    • Radiation properties
    • Atmospheric and solar radiation
    • The view factor
    • Radiation heat transfer: black surfaces, diffuse, gray surfaces
    • Radiation shields and the radiation effect
  • Heat Exchangers
    • Types of heat exchangers
    • The over-all heat transfer coefficient
    • Analysis of heat exchangers
    • The log-mean temperature difference method
    • The effectiveness-NTU method
    • Selection of heat exchangers
  • Mass transfer
    • Introduction
    • Analogy between heat and mass transfer
    • Mass diffusion
    • Boundaty conditions
    • Steady mass diffusion through a wall
    • Water vapor migration in buildings
    • Transient mass diffusion
    • Diffusion in a moving medium
    • Mass convection
    • Simultaneous heat and mass transfer
  • Psychrometrics
    • Ideal gas laws
    • Definition of psychrometric terms
    • The psychrometric chart
  • Principles of Refrigeration
    • Vapor compression refrigeration cycle
    • P-h charts
    • Refrigerants
    • Components of refrigeration systems
    • Accessory equipment
    • Absorption refrigeration

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. 

Homework Assignments

No late homework will be accepted. Homework must be presented on 8.5" x 11" paper; on one side only. As a guideline, an example homework solution will be presented in class. Homework will be marked down for a sloppy presentation and, if excessive, they may be returned un-graded. Lab reports are due one week from when assigned.


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 Percent
Final Exam 20%
Two Exams 40%
Problem Sets 20%
Lab Reports 10%
Quizzes/Attendance 10%

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

Syllabus Changes

 The instructor reserves the right to adjust the syllabus to preserve the integrity of the course.

Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following 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.”  You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." 
It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code.  Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:  

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 student 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. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

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,