MECH ENG 7044 - Biomechanical Engineering

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

What exactly was Grandma?s hip replaced with? How does my skeleton reinvent itself continuously? How are my car?s occupant safety features evaluated? What is an ACL and why does it rupture? Engineering biomechanics is involved in every movement we make, and is critical to many areas of medicine and safety. This course will explore the function, structure and mechanics of tissues in the musculoskeletal system (e.g. bone, tendon, cartilage, etc.), the function and design principles of orthopaedic implants and artificial joints, and the fundamentals of injury biomechanics. In each of these areas, the experimental, analytical and computational research methods used to study function, dysfunction and trauma will be discussed. Learning opportunities will include hands-on laboratory activities, facility visits and demonstrations. Contemporary examples and case studies will be used to explore new and emerging orthopaedic and injury biomechanics technologies.

  • 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 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assignments, Laboratory experiments, Project, Final Exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Claire Jones

    Course Coordinator & Instructor: Dr Claire Jones

    Instructors: Mr Simon Thwaites, Dr Rami Aldirini, Dr Ryan Quarrington

    Tutor: Mr Darcy Thompson-Bagshaw
    Course Timetable

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

    A week-to-week schedule is provided on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1 Demonstrate understanding of the biomechancal functions of the musculoskeletal system;
    2 Explain the function of diathroidal joints, and the function, design, limitations and failure mechanisms of artifical joints;
    3 Explain the mechanical principles of fracture and spinal fixation, and compare/contrast associated implant design and action;
    4 Undertake fundamental calculations in the areas of tissue, orthopaedic and injury biomechanics;
    5 Demonstrate understanding of musculosketal tissue (e.g. bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage, disc) function, structure, microstructure and mechanics, and the relationships between these;
    6 Demonstrate understanding of the principles of injury biomechanics, and the function of standardised safety testing and injury criteria.
    7 Evaluate the relevant literature and identify a clinical problem, and take the first steps towards formulating a research hypothesis and designing appropriate experimental methods/analytical models to test the hypothesis.
    8 Critically analyse, interpret, evaluate and synthesise relevant literature and other information (e.g. equipment documentation, alternative information sources) to explain applications of biomechanics.
    9 Investigate emerging new technologies in the biomechanics field; and,
    10 Appreciate the multi-disciplinary collaborative nature of biomechanics research and practice.
    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: 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6  

    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    4, 5

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    4, 5

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    4, 5

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    Reading lists and resources will be posted on MyUni.

    Online Learning
    Course materials will be made available on MyUni, assessments will be submitted via MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Three teaching and learning modes are used in this course.

    • Recorded materials will be available on MyUni and should be viewed prior to workshop attendence.
    • Workshops typically take the form of a series of Small Group Learning activities, expanding on the theme of the corresponding recorded materials. These interactive workshops reinforce and broaden the concepts covered in the recorded materials, and are designed to allow students to deepen their understanding of the topics and develop critical thinking skills.
    • Workshops also include incursions/excursions to demonstrate practical application of biomechanical engineering in industry and research contexts.
    • Practical/laboratory sessions focus on use of contemporary computational modelling techniques in biomechanical engineering.

    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 around 40 hours attendance at workshops and practicals, 40 hours of self directed learning, 40 hours completing assessments and 40 hours of revising course material and preparing for the exam.

    Learning Activities Summary
    1. Basic analysis of muscle and joint loads
    2. Biomechanics (structure and function) of bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage and disc.
    3. Viscoelasticity of biological tissues
    4. Basic biomechanics of synovial joints
    5. Basic spine biomechanics
    6. Biomechanics and design of joint replacements
    7. Fracture fixation and healing, spinal fusion
    8. Injury biomechanics
    9. Introduction to computational approaches in biomechanics
    Specific Course Requirements
    Field trips and practical sessions will be undertaken at:
    • Biomechanics Laboratory and/or Gait Laboratory at AHMS Building, University of Adelaide
    • Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), Kent Town
    Students are required to travel independently to these locations. Directions are provided on MyUni.
  • 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
    MyUni quizzes 1% per quiz, to a maximum of 10% total Individual Summative Weekly No
    Workshop assessed tasks 1% per task, to a maximum of 10% total Individual Summative Weekly No
    Workshop active participation 1% per workshop, to a maximum of 10% total Individual Summative Weekly No
    Injury Biomechanics Discovery Project - proposal 0% Pair/Group Formative ~ Week 8 No
    Injury Biomechanics Discovery Project - final report 8% Pair/Group Summative ~ Week 9 No
    Finite Element laboratory report 8% report, participation in workshop mandatory Individual Summative ~ Week 6/7 No
    OpenSim laboratory report 8% report, participation in workshop mandatory Individual Summative ~ Week 4 No
    Exam 38% Individual Summative Exam period No
    Total 100%
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    * Assessment weightings and due dates are subject to reasonable change. The final assessment details will be availale on MyUni.

    Assessment Detail
    Assessment Task Content covered
    myUni quizzes Weekly topics
    Workshop assessed tasks Weekly topics
    Workshop active participation Weekly topics
    Injury Biomechanics Discovery Project Injury criteria and experiments
    Finite Element laboratory report Total hip replacement and bone response
    OpenSim laboratory report Gait analysis and MSK modelling
    Final Exam All course content

    Submission of all assessed material is via MyUni, with the exception of some workshop in-class assessments which will be collected during the workshop.

    Work submitted late attracts a penalty of 10% of the total mark per working day.

    Refer to the MyUni course page for information regarding extension and accommodation requests. MACA Policy is adhered to in this course.

    Feedback on assessments will be provided, where appropriate, to the individual 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
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    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.

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