Course: BIOEN 440: Introduction to Biomechanics

Credits: 4

Instructor: Joan Sanders

Texts and Supplemental Materials: No textbook required.

UW Catalog Description: Presents the mechanical behavior of tissues in the body and the application to design of prostheses. Tissues studies include bone, skin, fascia, ligaments, tendons, heart valves, and blood vessels. Discussion of the structure of these tissues and their mechanical response to different loading configurations. An important part of the class is a final project.  Offered: jointly with ME 445; Sp.

Prerequisites by Course: PHYS 121, MATH 307, MATH 308

Prerequisites by Topic: Basic statistics and mechanics of materials, linear algebra, differential equations

Required or Elective: Elective

Specific Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply fundamental principles from mathematics, physics, chemistry, computing, engineering, and biology to solve biomedical and biotechnological problems.
  2. Derive design principles from nature and apply them to solve biomedical problems and to develop bioengineering technologies.
  3. Work in multidisciplinary teams and communicate problems and their solutions effectively with physicians, scientists, and other engineers.
  4. Take ethical and social issues into consideration in solving bioengineering problems.
  5. Continue to develop technical knowledge, awareness, and leadership abilities to address domestic or global issues in human health

Outcomes Addressed by this Course:

A. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.

  • Homework assignments focus on the application of engineering principles with the knowledge gained in the class. Examples are designing an artificial skin for athletic use, and assessing the quality of hiking footwear. Mechanical modeling methods are used to compare the mechanical performance of different tissue designs.

C. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints.

  • Students conduct a design project to create a new device, material, process, analysis tool, or other method so as to address a pressing biomedical problem. The project is required to have a design and analysis component to it.

D. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.

  • The final design project is conducted in groups of 3 to 4 students. Students in the class are typically bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and pre-medical students.

E.  An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.

  • Homework problems are geared towards real world problems, for example identifying a cause of failure in a biomechanical system or device.

G. An ability to communicate effectively.

  • Through the final design project, students must create a written report and give an oral presentation of their proposed idea. They are encouraged to incorporate verbal feedback from their oral presentation into their final paper.

BIOEN 440 is designed to apply previous exposure to calculus, mechanics, materials, and biology to relevant issues in biomechanics. The course reinforces critical concepts in material mechanics and biology, and then integrates them to address relevant biomedical problems. Real world problems are presented to the students, requiring them to combine their common sense with their engineering toolsets and basic biology knowledge. The final design project requires creative design efforts, and typically requires a crossing of disciplines. Students must work effectively in multi-disciplinary groups to accomplish this goal. The written report and oral presentation emphasize effective communication skills.  Thus, BIOEN 440 contributes to providing students with the tools necessary to reach the following Program Educational Objectives:

  1. Earn advanced degrees and/or obtain employment in bioengineering-related fields, such as medicine, device development, or biotechnology.
  2. Advance their careers by obtaining appropriate educational and professional qualifications.
  3. Contribute to responsible development of new technical knowledge.
  4. Take leadership roles in addressing domestic or global bioengineering-related issues.

 Topics Covered:

  1. Structure and content of biological soft tissues;
  2. Mechanical response to stress of skin, fascia, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels;
  3. Experimental techniques for mechanical measurement;
  4. Prosthetics;
  5. Percutaneous devices;
  6. Fibro-porous biomaterials;
  7. Amputee prosthetics;
  8. Adaptation.

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