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Mathematical biology practice problems

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Monsoon 2014

1. Behavior of magnetization (M) in the presence of applied magnetic fields (B) is

described by the “Bloch equation”

dM

dt

= M! " B

Now consider M lying on a plane (say x-y plane) perpendicular to the main magnetic

field B, which has strength B

o

(so B = B

o

k). Assume i, j, k to be the unit vectors in the x,

y, and z directions. Hence the initial condition is M(0) = m

o

i.

(a) (1 pt) Show that in this coordinate system the Bloch equation becomes

The above equation can be rewritten as a matrix differential equation:

(b) (2 pts) Solution to the z component (m

z

) of the equation can be solved separately.

Find m

z

. Show that m

x

, m

y

equations can be written in this form:

d

dt

m

x

m

y

!

"

#

#

$

%

&

&

=

0 !B

0

'!B

0

0

!

"

#

#

$

%

&

&

m

x

m

y

!

"

#

#

$

%

&

&

(c) (7 pts) Solve the equations in (b) for m

x

and m

y

. Define !

o

= "B

o

.

2. Consider a simple model of the intervertebral disk (the cartilage between the vertebrae

of your back). Consider the following figure as a model for the intervertebral disk.

30 Kg

Vertebra

0 5 mm

inter-vertebral disc

Vertebra

Because of elasticity, think of the disk as a spring between the two vertebrae. The

function y(t) is the displacement downward of the top vertebra. The thickness of the disk

is 5 mm. We will presume that the bottom vertebra is supported, and so it does not move.

A positive value for y indicates that the disk is being squeezed, and a negative value for y

means the disk is being stretched. In this model, the disk acts like a spring between the

upper and lower vertebrae. The weight bearing down on the disk from the body above it

is 30 kg., and the disk is 5 mm thick at equilibrium with this weight.

Let us say that we know from biomechanical measurements that the “spring constant” is

960 (Kg/s

2

) and the “damping constant” is 360 (kg/s). The corresponding forces are

given by

F

spring

= !960y and F

damping

= !360! y.

In HW 1 you have set up the resulting differential equation for the displacement y(t) of

the upper vertebra (mass m = 30 kg). (Use Newton’s law:

m!! y = F

total

.

(m is the mass of the object under consideration and F

total

is the sum of all forces acting on

it.)

Also assume an additional forcing function r(t) = 9.6 (kg.mm/s

2

) for t # 0.

Determine the solution to the nonhomogeneous equation numerically (Euler’s method)

and estimate y(t) at t = 0.2 sec.

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