OCEN 475/689

Special Topics on Mixing and Transport in the Environment (Environmental Fluid Mechanics)


Dr. Scott A. Socolofsky,
Associate Professor


Office Hours

Course Meeting Times

TR 9:35-10:50 in CE 217


Ph +1-979-845-4517

Satellite image of the phytoplankton concentratin off the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Image provided by the NASA SeaWiFS Program.


[Spring 2012 Syllabus.pdf]

You may also view the syllabus from Fall 2005, Fall 2006, and Spring 2008, Spring 2009, and Spring 2011.

OCEN 475 Environmental Fluid Mechanics. (3-0). Credit 3. Examines fluid and mass transport in naturally occurring flows; topics include molecular and turbulent diffusion; dispersion; river, estuary, and ocean mixing; dissolution boundary layers; tidal mixing; offshore wastewater outfalls; introduction to environmental quality numerical modeling.  Prerequisite: CVEN 311.

OCEN 677 Environmental Fluid Mechanics.  (3-0).  Credit 3. Introduction to fluid and mass transport in naturally occurring flows; topics include molecular and turbulent diffusion; dispersion; river, estuary, and ocean mixing; dissolution boundary layers; tidal mixing; offshore wastewater outfalls; introduction to environmental quality numerical modeling.  Prerequisite:  CVEN 311 or equivalent.

The objective of this course is to introduce the physics and chemistry of transport and mixing of substances in the hydrosphere by learning to:

There is a realted PowerPoint presentation describing the course content. If you do not have PowerPoint, you can view this presentation by downloading and installing the PowerPoint Viewer. See also the old course CVEN 489.

This course also contributes to the following ABET-identified outcomes of the ocean engineering curriculum:

Together, these objectives are important in the professional development of engineers and address the following specific issues of preparation for engineering practice:  advanced mathematics and basic sciences appropriate for coastal, environmental, and ocean engineering, and introduction to industry standard computer programs for transport problems, and submodel algorithms for sediment/water and air/water boundary exchange. 


Environmental fluid mechanics, mixing, transport, diffusion, dispersion, turbulence, turbulent diffusion, dispersion, jets, plumes, concentration boundary layers, tidal mixing, wastewater outfalls, numerical modeling.


There are two textbooks for this course:

Among the many other good textbooks on this subject, the following books are also recommended

Course Calendar

Please refer to the Calendar page.

Homework Assignments

Please refer to the Assignments page. Homework will be assigned periodically and the due date announced.  A tentative schedule of homework assignments is posted on the course website. 

POLICY:  Homework is a substantial part of your course grade and must be completed individually.  You may ask others for help at places where you have made diligent attempts and have become stumped.  You may ask others for confirmation of results at significant milestones in the problem.  You may not share computer programs, Word documents, or Excel files.  Copying another student’s solution, even if you slightly change the presentation will be considered as cheating and given a grade of zero (see Plagiarism statement below).

Homework problems must be answered clearly, showing all your work, and should be easy to follow.  Where applicable, the solution to each problem should contain:

Failure to include one of these elements will result in lost credit for the problem.  Not all homework problems may be graded.  Partial credit will be given for wrong answers that demonstrate some of the correct solution method.

Homework is due at the start of class on the assigned day either in class or in my mailbox on the 8th floor of the CE/TTI building.  Unless you have a university excuse (see Absences below), late assignments will not be accepted for full credit.  Please do not ask for exceptions. 


Your final grade for the course will be calculated as follows

Letter grades will be assigned from your total course score according to from 90% to 100%: A, from 80% but <90%: B, from 70% but <80%: C, from 60% but <70%: D, below 60%: F.  Please note that homework accounts for 20% of your total grade.

Class Participation and Quizzes

You are expected to attend all classes, turn in all assignments, and complete all exams at their scheduled times.  Exceptions are only permitted for university excused absences (see Absences below). 

Classes will start on time, and pointers for the homework assignments and last-minute changes to the schedule may be announced in class.  It is your responsibility to be in class to receive this information or to get the information from another student.

In-class quizzes will be counted toward up to 5% of the homework grade.


Two 75-minute midterm exams and one 120-minute final exam are scheduled (see Course Calendar page for scheduling).  The grading of the exams will be based on both the approach and the final answer.  Exams will be closed book and closed notes.  You may prepare notes on the front and back of one page of 8½ x 11 paper for each exam.  You will need a hand-held calculator for each exam.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your calculator is working and will perform in the examination.

Undergraduate- and Graduate-Level Components

Both the graduate (OCEN 677) and undergraduate (OCEN 475) courses on Environmental Fluid Mechanics are offered together.  Although the lectures for both course offerings will be the same, the assignments and exams will be different for undergraduates compared to graduate students.  The undergraduate assignments will be designed toward application of the topics taught in the lectures to engineering problems.  Graduate assignments will be geared more toward research in environmental fluid mechanics.  Likewise, undergraduate exam problems will be shorter, applications problems; whereas, the graduate exam problems may be more open-ended.

Academic Integrity

"An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do." Please see Section 20 of the Texas A&M University Student Rules and visit the AggieHonor website.

No form of scholastic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) will be tolerated. As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one's own the ideas, words, writings, etc., which belong to another. In accordance with this definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you should have permission of that person. Since the homework grade for this course is a high percentage of your total grade, no plagiarism or cheating will be permitted in the homework.


The university views class attendance as an individual student responsibility. Students are expected to attend class and to complete all assignments.  Please read Section 7 of the Texas A&M University Student Rules for details.  

Please contact me as soon as you know you will miss a class or an exam so that a reasonable alternative can be accommodated.  Unexcused absences will result in a grade of zero for the missed work.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services, in Cain Hall, Room B118, or call 845-1637. For additional information visit http://disability.tamu.edu.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CTS-0348572. Any opinions, finds and conclusions or recommendations in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).