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Unit outline_

BMET3961: Biomaterials

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit will build on knowledge in materials science and merge knowledge in the biomedical sciences, in particular with the aspects of the human anatomy and physiology. The students will appreciate that developing engineering solutions to solve problems associated with the human body will bring forward a unique set of constraints and conditions not found in alternate contexts. For example, the human body is composed of living constituents called 'cells' that produce matter called 'tissues' in a structured manner to form functioning systems called 'organs'. The function(s) of these cells is heavily dependent on the surrounding physical and chemical cues - the parameters (for which there are multiple) of these cues have to be 'right' or 'optimal' for the cells to function well to produce the correct type of tissue for the correct functioning of the organ. A biomedical engineering solution (e.g. an implantable or wearable device) to treat, monitor or diagnose a disease or medical condition must take these parameters into serious consideration.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Biomedical Engineering
Credit points 6
(ENGG1960 or AMME1802 or ENGG1802 or PHYS1001) and (AMME2302 or AMME1362) and (MECH2901 or BMET2901 or (MEDS2005 and (MEDS2001 or PHSI2007)))
MECH4961 or BMET4961 or AMME9961 or BMET9961
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Young No,
Lecturer(s) Young No,
Tutor(s) Pooria Lesani,
Matilda Longfield,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Final examination covering the content delivered during the semester
45% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO3 LO5
Assignment group assignment Biomaterials in Industry Report
Investigative report on biomaterials used in selected biomedical devices
15% Week 07
Due date: 24 Sep 2021 at 23:59
6-8 page written report
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO3 LO5 LO7
Online task group assignment Biomaterials Shark Tank
Pitch for use of new biomaterials in existing devices
15% Week 11 10 minute presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO7 LO6 LO5
Small continuous assessment Tutorial-based learning activities
Series of mini-tasks to be completed during and after tutorials
15% Weekly 1.5 hours per week + time outside class
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO5 LO3 LO4 LO2
Tutorial quiz Weekly Quizzes
Weekly formative quiz assessment covering previous week's lecture content
10% Weekly 0.5 hr per week
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

Final exam: A 2-hour open book exam, designed to assess the students’ ability to describe and discuss multiple aspects of biomaterials science and engineering.

Tutorial based learning activities: A series of scavenger-hunt style mini-assessments, including research-based and practical-based tasks, which encourage students to seek additional knowledge and content from external sources, and apply their knowledge and findings in the completion of these activities.

Weekly quizzes: 1% weekly MCQ/short answer quizzes assessing student’s ability to recall key concepts and facts.

Biomaterials in Industry Report: Students write up an investigative report on the biomaterials used in specific commercially available medical devices and implants, and assess the suitability of the biomaterials in these biomedical applications. This is an assessment for groups of three students.

Biomaterials Shark Tank: Students form hypothetical medtech companies, and propose the use of recently developed biomaterials in literature to replace currently used biomaterials for a new product. Students need to consider not only biomaterials aspects, but also potential cost and manufacturing aspects. The groups will be identical to the previous “Biomaterials in Industry Report”.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Submitted work is of exceptional standard, beyond expectations expected of senior undergraduate engineering students. These submissions often satisfy extensive and correct critical analysis (86-90) and provide novel and thought-provoking yet reasoned out discussion points resulting from further independent learning (91+).


75 - 84

Submitted assessment tasks are of very good standard. Typically, these assessments are very good in the descriptive nature, with a decent attempt at the critical analysis and thinking in the submission, but gaps are present.


65 - 74

Submitted assessment tasks are of good standard. Typically, these assessments are good in the descriptive nature, but lack the proper critical analysis and thinking in the submission (65-69), or some attempt has been made but mostly basic in nature (70-74)


50 - 64

All requirements of assessment met with the minimum satisfactory standard.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to biomaterials Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Foreign materials in tissues and the body's response Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Metals and metal alloys in biomedical engineering Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Polymers and hydrogels as biomaterials Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Ceramics and glasses as biomaterials Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Coatings and composites as biomaterials and uses in biomedical devices Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Injectable biomaterials Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Plasma coated biomaterials Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Conductive biomaterials Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Biomaterials Case Studies: Orthopaedic Devices Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Biomaterials Case Studies: Bionic implants Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Biomaterials Case Studies: Other medical devices Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Revision Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Prescribed readings will be allocated throughout the semester, mainly from published scholarly reviews in international biomaterials journals.


Other readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • F.H. Silver – Biological materials : structure, mechanical properties. NY University Press, 1987.
  • J.B. Park and J. D Bronzino – Biomaterials. Principles and Applications. CRC Press, 2003.
  • B.D. Ratner, A.S. Hoffman, F.J. Schoen, J.E. Lemons – Biomaterials Science. Elsevier, 2004.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Appreciate and recognise the interdisciplinary nature of biomaterials science, whereby concepts from a wide range of areas including materials science, human biology, mechanics, chemistry and physics are brought together
  • LO2. Develop knowledge and understanding about the factors involved in the selection of a biomaterial for tissue replacement, including mechanical, biocompatibility, material property and fixation factors
  • LO3. Develop knowledge and understanding about the current state and recent developments in the field of biomaterials.
  • LO4. Identify, obtain, and analyse research data using appropriate strategies to gain in-depth knowledge and current advances in biomaterials.
  • LO5. Evaluate and assess the suitability of biomaterials and their engineering considerations, and the limitations in currently available biomaterials in the biomedical device sector
  • LO6. Devise and propose novel biomedical device solutions, taking mechanical, biological, chemical and physical properties of the materials into account, as well as the financial and technical feasibility, and surgical considerations into account when designing solutions.
  • LO7. Employ techniques for effective oral and written communication of the concepts and knowledge underlining the background science and engineering applications of biomaterials used in biomedical devices, in a professional manner

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Most of the assessment profile has been retained from last year. Tutorial-based activities and assessments have been revised.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.