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BMET4961: Biomechanics and Biomaterials (2020 - Semester 2)

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Unit: BMET4961: Biomechanics and Biomaterials (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Senior Advanced
Faculty/School: School of Biomedical Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr No, Young
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: (ENGG1960 OR AMME1802 OR ENGG1802 OR PHYS1001) AND (AMME2302 OR AMME1362) AND (MECH2901 OR BMET2901).
Prohibitions: MECH4961.
Brief Handbook Description: Welcome to BMET4961/9961 Biomaterials and Biomechanics! This course will build on your general knowledge in materials science and mechanics, and merge this with your knowledge in the biomedical sciences, in particular with the aspects of the human anatomy and physiology. You will notice quickly 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, your human body is composed of living constituents called ‘cells’ that produce matter called ‘tissues’ in a structured manner to form functioning systems called ‘organs’. Now, 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. Otherwise, your engineering solution may not work as intended, or even worse either detrimentally affect the function of the living cells (i.e. induce an undesired immune response or cytotoxicity), or mechanically fail to destroy the structural integrity of the tissues and organs surrounding your device. To prevent this from happening, we must understand the physical, chemical, biological and mechanical properties of both the tissues/organs in our body, as well as the materials used to interface and/or integrate with such tissues/organs in our body.

I hope through the lectures and assessment tasks in this course, that you will get to appreciate and understand the importance of materials and mechanics considerations in developing engineering solutions for the clinical and biomedical context and be able to apply this in a biomedical setting.

You can find the schedule of contents in the "Schedule" tab.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Tutor/s: Matilda Longfield

Dylan Nai-Chun Liu

Mahdieh Moghari
Timetable: BMET4961 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
3 Lecture 2.00 1 13
4 Tutorial 2.00 1 12

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
The students will be given lectures and resources to develop their understanding and knowledge in biomaterials and biomechanics. For the biomaterials aspects, the students will be able to describe and discuss the biological, physical, and chemical properties of these materials and how/why they are suitable/unsuitable in certain contexts. For the biomechanics, the students will be exploring mechanics of structures in biological tissues, and will be able to perform calculations to solve problems related to biomechanics (2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3)
The students will be required to submit an assignment whereby they will present a pitch on suggested improvements in biomaterials and biomechanics for currently available medical devices. The content will be inspired by the lectures and individual reading. The students will be expected to identify shortcomings in current biomedical devices and discuss innovative and inventive ways of providing solutions.

The biomechanics lab assessment will also assess their ability to pose problems and analyse data.
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 3)
The students will be required to submit an assignment whereby they will present a pitch on suggested improvements in biomaterials and biomechanics for currently available medical devices. The content will be inspired by the lectures and individual reading. The solution should take into account important practical considerations such as technical feasibility, surgical considerations, regulation and ethics. (4) Design (Level 3)
The nature of the content in this course draws from multiple fields of science and engineering - materials science, tissue mechanics, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, regulatory affairs and ethics, physics, medical sciences, and medical devices. Students will need to bring all these concepts together in both their group assessment, and in their individual assessments which test their understanding across these concepts. (5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 3)
Inquiry/research will be developed through the group project activities. Both these assessments require students to access and analyze recent developments published in the academic and commercial domain.

The biomechanics lab assessment will develop the students` ability to evaluate and interpret data.

Both oral, written, and inter-member communication skills through group assessment will be developed.
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
Students will be divided into small groups and will be tasked to develop novel modifications to existing medical devices. This will require teamwork, time management skills, and task delegation skills.
Students will also employ ethical conduct during their research and information gathering process.
The students will be tasked to formalise their meetings through minutes, draw up Gantt charts, and provide risk analysis documents.
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
Students will be divided into small groups and will be tasked to develop novel modifications to existing medical devices. This will require teamwork, time management skills, and task delegation skills.
Students will also employ ethical conduct during their research and information gathering process.
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (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.

(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
1. Employ project techniques and activities such as assigning tasks, managing time, and scheduling taksks.
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3)
2. Employ techniques in communicating with colleagues in a professional manner in a group technical assessment setting.
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
3. Employ techniques for effective oral and written communication of the concepts and knowledge underlining the background science and engineering applications of biomedical devices
4. Identify, obtain, and analyze information using appropriate search strategies to gain in-depth knowledge and current advances in biomaterials and biomechanics
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 3)
5. 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
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 3)
6. Evaluate and assess the current challenges in biomedical systems
7. Propose novel changes/solutions related to both biomaterials and biomechanics to address current unmet clinical needs or to address limitations of current solutions
(4) Design (Level 3)
8. Formulate new designs for devices to address unmet needs in the biomedical sector
9. 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
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3)
10. Discuss the current state and recent developments in the field of biomaterials.
11. Understand the mechanical behaviour of biological tissues and the types of models used to describe this behaviour.
12. Understand all the factors involved in the selection of a biomaterial for tissue replacement, including mechanical, biocompatibility, material property and fixation factors.
13. Perform basic calculations and apply static and dynamic mechanical analyses, to the human body to describe motion.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Weekly Quizzes No 10.00 Multiple Weeks 5, 10, 11, 12, 13,
2 Final Exam No 45.00 Exam Period 5, 10, 11, 12, 13,
3 Group research report Yes 15.00 Week 6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12,
4 Group design project Yes 15.00 Week 12 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9,
5 Biomechanics Lab Report Yes 15.00 Week 10 1, 2, 3, 4, 13,
Assessment Description: Weekly quizzes (10%): 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 (45%): 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.

The following group assessments are to be done with the same group members (six students per group)

Biomechanics Lab Report (15%): 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 (15%): 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 (15%): 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.
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: There is no set textbook. Many general books on biomechanics, biomaterials, anatomy and physiology are in the Scitech, Badham, Medical, or Dental libraries.

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

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: Introduction to Biomaterials
Week 2 Lecture: Foreign materials in tissues and the body's response
Week 3 Lecture: Metals and metal alloys in biomedical engineering - their strengths and fatal flaws
Week 4 Lecture: Polymers and hydrogels - soft and versatile
Week 5 Lecture: Ceramics and glasses - if only they were tough
Week 6 Lecture: Materials in biomedical devices and implants
Assessment Due: Group research report
Week 7 Lecture: Introduction to Biomechanics + whole body biomechanics
Week 8 Lecture: Stress, strain, extension and torsion, and biomechanics of bone and other load bearing tissues
Week 9 Lecture: Pressure inside tubes and vessels - biomechanics of biological conduits
Week 10 Lecture: Fluid biomechanics and the flow of blood
Assessment Due: Biomechanics Lab Report
Week 11 Lecture: Thesis seminar presentations (no lecture for this week)
Week 12 Lecture: Viscoelasticity of soft tissues
Assessment Due: Group design project
Week 13 Revision
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
Biomedical Mid-Year 2019, 2020, 2018
Biomedical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Biomedical 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Biomedical / Arts 2019, 2020
Biomedical / Commerce 2019, 2020
Biomedical /Science 2019, 2020
Biomedical/Science (Health) 2019, 2020
Biomedical / Law 2019, 2020
Biomedical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2019, 2020

Course Goals

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

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) Yes 6%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3) Yes 6%
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) Yes 10.5%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 3) Yes 12.5%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 3) Yes 6%
(4) Design (Level 3) Yes 6%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3) Yes 53%

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.