Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jun Zhang


Scientific research in areas of physics, chemistry, and biology traditionally depends purely on experimental and theoretical methods. Recently numerical simulation is emerging as the third way of science discovery beyond the experimental and theoretical approaches. This work describes some general procedures in numerical computation, and presents several applications of numerical modeling in bioheat transfer and biomechanics, jet diffusion flame, and bio-molecular interactions of proteins in blood circulation.

A three-dimensional (3D) multilayer model based on the skin physical structure is developed to investigate the transient thermal response of human skin subject to external heating. The temperature distribution of the skin is modeled by a bioheat transfer equation. Different from existing models, the current model includes water evaporation and diffusion, where the rate of water evaporation is determined based on the theory of laminar boundary layer. The time-dependent equation is discretized using the Crank-Nicolson scheme. The large sparse linear system resulted from discretizing the governing partial differential equation is solved by GMRES solver.

The jet diffusion flame is simulated by fluid flow and chemical reaction. The second-order backward Euler scheme is applied for the time dependent Navier-Stokes equation. Central difference is used for diffusion terms to achieve better accuracy, and a monotonicity-preserving upwind difference is used for convective ones. The coupled nonlinear system is solved via the damped Newton's method. The Newton Jacobian matrix is formed numerically, and resulting linear system is ill-conditioned and is solved by Bi-CGSTAB with the Gauss-Seidel preconditioner.

A novel convection-diffusion-reaction model is introduced to simulate fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) binding to cell surface molecules of receptor and heparan sulfate proteoglycan and MAP kinase signaling under flow condition. The model includes three parts: the flow of media using compressible Navier-Stokes equation, the transport of FGF-2 using convection-diffusion transport equation, and the local binding and signaling by chemical kinetics. The whole model consists of a set of coupled nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) and a set of coupled nonlinear ordinary differential equations (ODEs). To solve the time-dependent PDE system we use second order implicit Euler method by finite volume discretization. The ODE system is stiff and is solved by an ODE solver VODE using backward differencing formulation (BDF). Findings from this study have implications with regard to regulation of heparin-binding growth factors in circulation.