From Biomechanics: Concepts and Computation

15.1 Introduction

This chapter extends the formulation of the previous chapter for the onedimensional diffusion equation to the time-dependent convection-diffusion equation. Although a good functioning of the human body relies on maintaining a homeostasis or equilibrium in the physiological state of the tissues and organs, it is a dynamic equilibrium. This means that all processes have to respond to changing inputs, which are caused by changes of the environment. The diffusion processes taking place in the body are not constant, but instationary, so time has to be included as an independent variable in the diffusion equation. Thus, the instationary diffusion equation becomes a partial differential equation.

Convection is the process whereby heat or particles are transported by air or fluid moving from one point to another point. Diffusion could be seen as a process of transport through immobilized fluid or air. When the fluid itself moves, particles in that fluid are dragged along. This is called convection and also plays a major role in biomechanics. An example is the loss of heat because moving air is passing the body. The air next to the body is heated by conduction, moves away and carries off the heat just taken from the body. Another example is a drug that is released at some spot in the circulation and is transported away from that spot by means of the blood flow. In larger blood vessels the prime mechanism of transportation is convection.

15.2 The Convection-Diffusion Equation

Assuming that the source term f

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