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Unit of study_

BMET4961: Biomechanics and Biomaterials

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This course is divided into two parts: biomechanics and biomaterials: Biomechanics is the study of the body from the point of view of it being an engineering structure. There are many aspects to this since the human body contains soft tissues, hard tissues (skeletal system), and articulating joints. We will begin with a general introduction to biomechanics, modelling the human body from the macroscopic level to the microscopic level. We will then study soft tissue mechanics, with respect to both non-linear and viscoelastic descriptions, with a significant focus on the mathematical methods used in relation to the mechanics of the system. We will then look at specific aspects of biomechanics: muscle mechanics, joint mechanics, kinematics and dynamics of human gait (gait analysis), biomechanics of cells, physiological fluid flow, biomechanics of injury, functional and mechanical response of tissues to mechanical loading. Biomaterials This course will involve the study of biomaterials from two perspectives: firstly, the response of the body towards the biomaterial - an immune response and foreign body reaction; secondly, the response of the biomaterial to the body - corrosion, biodegradation, and mechanical failure. Our study will begin with the response of the body towards the biomaterial. We will begin by looking at the immune system itself and then move on to look at the normal inflammatory response. We will then study in detail the foreign body reaction caused by biomaterials. The final part of this section is the study of protein adsorption onto biomaterials, with a strong focus on the Vroman effect. Then we will move onto the response of the biomaterial to the body. We will begin by a review of biomaterials, their applications, and compositions, and mechanical properties. We will then look at key problems such as corrosion, stress shielding, static fatigue, and mechanical failure. Finally, we will take a practical look at the materials themselves. Beginning with metals, then polymers (thermoplastic, thermosetting, and biodegradable), and finally ceramics (bioinert, biodegradable, and bioactive).

Unit details and rules

Unit code BMET4961
Academic unit Biomedical Engineering
Credit points 6
(ENGG1960 OR AMME1802 OR ENGG1802 OR PHYS1001) AND (AMME2302 OR AMME1362) AND (MECH2901 OR BMET2901)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Young No,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Final exam covering biomaterials and biomechanics
45% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Assignment group assignment Group research report
Research report on current materials and designs in medical devices
15% Week 05 8 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO13 LO12 LO11 LO10
Assignment Biomechanics ANSYS lab report
Finite element analysis report
15% Week 08 ~5 page report
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO10
Presentation group assignment Group design project
Presentation and supporting documents as a hypothetical medtech company
15% Week 11 10 minute presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12 LO13
Tutorial quiz Weekly quizzes
Short weekly quizzes to keep you on your toes
10% Weekly 20 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Weekly quizzes: The first 20 minutes of each tutorial will be a weekly quiz on the lecture content the week prior. The questions will be a mix of multiple choice and short answer questions. These quizzes and associated solutions will form the basis for your study notes for the final examination.
  • Final examination: Closed-book examination covering all the content addressed in both lectures and tutorials. The examination will be a mix of multiple choice, short answer questions, and one long answer question.
  • Biomechanics lab report: You will use the OptiTrak (motion capture) system to collect data on joint movement during normal and affected motion. You will then analyse the data and produce a written lab report with the associated introduction (context) and discussion of the results.
  • Group research report: You write a maximum 12-page report (including references) about a medical device or implant that is in current clinical circulation in any of the major clinical federally regulated markets 
  • Group design project: In extension from your group research report, your group will now form a hypothetical company to make your own version of the medical device where you modify the biomaterial and biomechanics of the said device based on your findings. Your assessment will be a 10 minute presentation pitch justifying your device design.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

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

For more information see

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 and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3 LO7 LO8
Week 02 Foreign materials in tissues and the body's response Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3 LO7 LO8
Week 03 Metals and metal alloys in biomedical engineering Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 04 Polymers and hydrogels Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 05 Ceramics and glasses Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 06 Materials in biomedical devices and implants Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 07 Introduction to biomechanics + whole body biomechanics Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 08 Stress, strain, extension and torsion, and biomechanics of bone and other load bearing tissues Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 09 Pressure inside tubes and vessels - biomechanics of biological conduits Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 10 Fluid biomechanics and the flow of blood Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 11 Viscoelasticity of soft tissues Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 12 Revision Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO9

Attendance and class requirements

You are required to attend the lectures and the tutorials to fulfil the learning outcomes for the unit of study.

Lectures will be run online (2hrs) in a live, synchronous manner.

Tutorials (2hrs) will be run in dual mode (i.e. on-campus, and online)

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

All 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.
  • J.F.V. Vincent – Biomechanics--materials : a practical approach. Oxford Univ Press, 1992.
  • Y.C. Fung – Biomechanics : mechanical properties of Biological tissues. Springer Verlag, 1993. 
  • V.C. Mow, A. Ratcliffe, S.L-Y. Woo – Biomechanics of diarthrodial joints V1 & V2.  Springer Verlag, 1990.

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. Discuss the current state and recent developments in the field of biomaterials.
  • LO2. Understand the mechanical behaviour of biological tissues and the types of models used to describe this behaviour
  • LO3. Understand all the factors involved in the selection of a biomaterial for tissue replacement, including mechanical, biocompatibility, material property and fixation factors
  • LO4. Perform calculations and apply static and dynamic mechanical analyses, to the human body to describe motion.
  • LO5. Formulate new designs for devices to address unmet needs in the biomedical sector
  • LO6. Devise solutions taking mechanical, biological, chemical and physical properties fo the materials into account, as well as the financial and technical feasibility, and surgical considerations into account when designing solutions
  • LO7. Evaluate and assess the current challenges in biomedical systems
  • LO8. Propose novel changes/solutions related to both biomaterials and biomechanics to address current unmet clinical needs or to address limitations of current solutions
  • LO9. Appreciate and recognize the interdisciplinary nature of the field of biomedical engineering, whereby concepts from a wide range of areas including materials science, human biology, mechanics, chemistry and physics are brought together
  • LO10. Employ techniques for effective oral and written communication of the concepts and knowledge underlining the background science and engineering applications of biomedical devices
  • LO11. Identify, obtain, and analyze information using appropriate search strategies to gain in-depth knowledge and current advances in biomaterials and biomechanics
  • LO12. Employ techniques in communicating with colleagues in a professional manner in a group technical assessment setting.
  • LO13. Employ project techniques and activities such as assigning tasks, managing time, and scheduling taksks

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.

We thank you for the comments. The lab component has changed due to restrictions regarding COVID19


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

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