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AMME9961: Biomechanics and Biomaterials (2018 - Semester 2)

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Unit: AMME9961: Biomechanics and Biomaterials (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Boughton, Philip
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Prohibitions: AMME5961.
Brief Handbook Description: 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.


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).
Assumed Knowledge: AMME9901 or 6 credit points of junior biology, 6 credit points of junior chemistry, 6 credit points of junior materials science, 6 credit points of engineering design, Assumed Knowledge: Chemistry, biology, materials engineering, and engineering design at least at the Junior level.
Lecturer/s: Dr Boughton, Philip
Timetable: AMME9961 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 3.00 1 13

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Be able to apply theory to practice in familiar and unfamiliar situations and adopt a problem solving approach. Design (Level 3)
Develop a body of knowledge in the fields of biomechanics and biomaterials Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 3)
Be able identify, access, and organize knowledge gained and exercise critical judgment. Information Seeking (Level 3)
Be able communicate knowledge gained both orally and written. Communication (Level 3)
Test hypotheses experimentally and apply technical skills

The ability to work with others.
Professional Conduct (Level 2)
Work in a team with other students to produce a coherent presentation on desing findings. Project and Team Skills (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Design (Level 3)
1. Understand the mechanical behaviour of biological tissues and the types of models used to describe this behaviour.
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 3)
2. Understand all the factors involved in the selection of a biomaterial for tissue replacement, including mechanical, biocompatibility, material property and fixation factors.
3. Apply static and dynamic mechanical analyses to the human body to describe motion.
Information Seeking (Level 3)
4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the major areas of current research in the biomaterials field, learn to apply basic engineering principles to biomedical systems, and understand the challenges and difficulties of biomedical systems.
Communication (Level 3)
5. Improve their written and oral communication skills in a technical setting.
Professional Conduct (Level 2)
6. Understand the challenges and difficulties of biomedical systems.
Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
7. Gain teawork experience by undertaking a joint presentation.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Project No 20.00 Week 12 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
2 Project No 20.00 Week 6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
3 Final Exam No 40.00 Exam Period 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
4 Participation Yes 5.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
5 Presentation/Seminar Yes 15.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 7,
Assessment Description: Project: Biomechanics individual project.

Project: Biomaterials individual project.

Final Exam: Closed-book exam at the end of semester. The exam will have a selection of short essay topics spanning the material covered in class. It is a necessary condition that to pass this unit of study you must pass the exam.

Participation: You must attend all the lectures and seminars given by other students, and participate in class discussions by asking questions etc. You will also be asked to give feedback on each others` student presentations. This contributes to your class participation mark (5%). Attendance at the three hours of class time per week is compulsory. If you miss more than 10% of the lectures you will not have met the attendance requirements and will fail the unit of study.

Presentation/Seminar: Presentation of biomaterials and Biomechanic projects. For these seminars, which occur after the report is handed in, are a presentation of your group project, and should be a total of 25 minutes plus question time. You must also provide a short (2 pages maximum) summary lecture notes to be handed out during the seminar.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
Note on Resources:

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: Introduction to biomechanics.
Week 2 Lecture: Tissue mechanics.
Week 3 Lecture: Modelling of motion.
Week 4 Lecture: Biofluid mechanics.
Week 5 Lecture: Injury biomechanics.
Week 6 Biomechanics Team Seminars
Assessment Due: Project
Week 7 Lecture: The immune system and biomaterials
Week 8 Lecture: The inflammatory response to biomaterials.
Week 9 Lecture: Protein adsorption and surface engineering of biomaterials.
Week 10 Lecture: Biomaterials as engineering materials Part 1
Week 11 Lecture: Biomaterials as engineering materials Part 2
Week 12 Biomaterials Team Seminars.
Assessment Due: Project
Week 13 One week of semester is lost to thesis seminars
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final Exam

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Professional Engineering (Biomedical) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Graduate Diploma in Health Technology Innovation 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of Engineering (2024 and earlier) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of Health Technology Innovation 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Design (Level 3) Yes 19%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 3) Yes 31%
Information Seeking (Level 3) Yes 15.5%
Communication (Level 3) Yes 15.5%
Professional Conduct (Level 2) Yes 11.5%
Project and Team Skills (Level 3) Yes 7.5%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.