A new nonlinear model of the cochlea

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Oakland, Steven
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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Several models of cochlear mechanics have been developed. Wave motion in the cochlea is described by most of these models in a manner analogous to traveling waves in an electrical transmission line. To model the frequency response of the basilar membrane, the electrical properties of the transmission line must vary along the length of the line. Linear models match the frequency response characteristics of the basilar membrane quite well;Psychophysical and neurophysiological observations of combination tones indicate the presence of a nonlinear mechanism within the cochlea, but the existence of a mechanical nonlinearity has not yet been proved. The purpose of this investigation is to develop a theoretical justification for nonlinearities in cochlear mechanics. Newtonian theories of fluid and solid mechanics are applied to a simplified physical model of the cochlea. Each nonlinear term in the equations of motion is considered, and its effect on the wave motion in the cochlea is discussed. A cubic nonlinearity results from the nonlinear nature of the compliance of the cochlear partition. A quadratic nonlinearity may also exist if the effects of fluid convection are significant. These results are consistent with existing nonlinear models which exhibit combination tone behavior similar to that of the cochlea. It is concluded that a mechanical nonlinearity is predicted by a simply physical model of the cochlea. Odd-order distortion products, such as the 2f(,1)-f(,2) combination tone, are consistent with the expected effects of nonlinear compliance of an elastic cochlear partition.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1980