MECH ENG 7044 - Biomechanical Engineering

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2020

This course will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of the structure and mechanics of the musculoskeletal system with application of mechanics to bone, tendon, cartilage, ligaments and other biological materials. The structure and function of the major joints in the body will be covered, such as the hip, knee and spine as well as multiple joint systems such as the shoulder, wrist and hand. Experimental and analytical methods used to understand the function of joints and artificial joints will be discussed throughout the course. At completion of this course, students will understand the concept of joint biomechanics, and how artificial joints function, why they fail, as well as their limitations and emerging new technologies in the biomechanics field.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 7044
    Course Biomechanical Engineering
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assignments, Laboratory experiments, Project, Final Exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Paul Grimshaw

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Define the general principles of joint biomechanics, and their function;
    2 Recognise the concepts and theory of viscoelasticity as it applies to soft tissues, cartilage, and bone;
    3 Show how artificial joints function and why they fail, as well as their limitations;
    4 Investigate emerging new technologies in the biomechanics field and discuss the multi-disciplinary collaborative nature of biomechanics research; and
    5 Evaluate the relevant literature and assess a clinical problem, and take the first steps towards formulating a research hypothesis and designing appropriate experimental methods/analytical models to test the hypothesis.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency:

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4, 5
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    4, 5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    Basic Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Mechano-biology, 3rd Edition by Mow VC & Huiskes R, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA, 2005. ISBN: 0-7817-3933-0. Extensive notes will also be provided.

    Biomechanics of the Musculo-skeletal system – 3rd edition by Benno Nigg and Walter Herzog. John Wiley & Sons Publishers. Chichester, England. 2007. ISBN 978-0-470-01767-8. Extensive notes will also be provided.

    Online Learning
    Lectures, Home work and solutions and marks will be posted on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lecturing will be used to convey the knowledge to the students with regular real-world examples of biomechanical challenges and solutions regularly discussed.

    Combined tutorials/group work sessions will be used to reinforce the concepts covered in lectures by challenging the students with more open-ended questions designed to deepen their understanding and encourage critical thinking skills. Solutions to these questions will be discussed during tutorials. At least one session will be dedicated to conducting a critical review of a biomechanics research manuscript and formulating a hypothesis that will need to be tested during a series of practical sessions.

    Practical sessions will be used to demonstrate the latest technologies employed in artificial joints, perform a mock joint replacement using artificial foam bones, measure the complex material properties of soft tissues/bone and experimentally test a hypothesis that was developed during tutorial/group work sessions.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The required time commitment from the beginning of semester to the end of the final exam is 40 hours attendance at lectures/tutorials, 40 hours of self directed learning, 40 hours completing assignments and 40 hours of revising course material and preparing for the exam.

    Learning Activities Summary
    1. Analysis of muscle and joint Loads (10%)

    2. Biomechanics of bone and osteoporosis (10%)

    3. Structure and function of articular cartilage and meniscus (5%)

    4. Viscoelasticity – intrinsic/biphasic and poroelasticity (5%)

    5. Structure and function of ligaments and tendons (10%)

    6. Muscle mechanics (5%)

    7. Knee biomechanics (5%)

    8. Hip biomechanics (10%)

    9. Spine/disc biomechanics (20%)

    10. Biomechanics of artificial joints: The Hip (10%)

    11. Fracture fixation and healing (5%)

    12. Imaging of soft tissues and joints (5%)

    13. Review of a topical area/article in biomechanics

    Specific Course Requirements

    One field trip for practical sessions in the Biomechanical Materials Testing Laboratory at Flinders University will be undertaken (subject to availability)

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Assignment 1 - statics and dynamics 10 Individual Summative Week 4 1. 3.
    Assignment 2 - Opensim laboratory (modelling) 10 Individual Summative Week 6 1. 2.
    Hexapod Laboratory Class 3 Individual Summative Week 8 attend 2. 3. 4.
    Hexapod Laboratory Report 7 Individual Summative Week 10 2. 3. 4.
    Draft Research Report 0 Individual Formative Week 8 3. 4. 5.
    Final Research Report 20 Individual Summative Week 12 3. 4. 5.
    Final Examination 50 Individual Summative Week 15/16 1. 2. 3. 4.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown is registered as an exemption to the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy. The exemption is related to the Procedures clause(s): 1. b. 2.   
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment Task Content covered
    Homework #1 Static & Dynamic analysis of muscle and joint loads
    Homework #2 Bone and Ligament & Tendon
    Preliminary Research Report Identify research topic and brief report on literature reviewed and report objectives
    Homework #3 Cartilage and Spine
    Practical Assignment Data analysis of experimental results, development of Matlab programming skills, discussion, limitations and interpret findings
    Homework #4 Hip research methods and muscle and gait analysis
    Final Research Report Detailed literature review of topic and development of hypotheses and design of methods, anticipated results and significance
    Final Exam

    Submission of all homeworks/practical/reports will be via a hard copy placed in the labelled box located on level 2 of Engineering South Building and must be accompanied by an assessment cover sheet available from room S116 or near the assignment submission area.

    Work submitted late attracts a penalty of 10% of the total mark per working day. Extensions for other assignments will only be given in exceptional circumstances and a case for this with supporting documentation can be made in writing after a lecture or via email to the lecturer who set the assignment.

    Return of marked assignments will be within three weeks after submission deadline and feedback will be provided where appropriate on each assignment and to the whole class.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.