Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Biomechanics

Course unit code: 363751

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Pere Roca-cusachs Soulere

Department: Department of Biomedical Sciences

Credits: 6

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 150


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Laboratory session





-  Seminar




Supervised project


Independent learning






It is advisable to have acquired the skills (knowledge and ability to solve problems) corresponding to the previous subjects of Physics, Mathematics, Biophysics and Bioengineering.



Competences to be gained during study



To be able to analyse and summarize (Instrumental).


To be able to work independently (Personal).


To be able to work in a team or a multidisciplinary group (Personal).


To be able to work in a multilingual environment and communicate and transmit knowledge, procedures, results, abilities and skills (oral and written) in a native and a foreign language (Instrumental).


To gain knowledge of biomedical concepts and language.


To gain the scientific and technical training to work on the design and development of measurement, control and communication systems for all of the biomedical activities required by society and by scientific knowledge.


To know about and apply engineering concepts to the study of biological processes and the functions of the human organism. To gain knowledge of the atomic, molecular, cellular and organic levels of the physical mechanisms and phenomena that have an impact on health and disease.


To know the basic mathematical, physical and engineering concepts that are required to interpret, select, assess and create new concepts, theories, uses and technological developments in biology and medicine.


To gain an understanding of the interaction of engineering with other areas of knowledge (medicine, biology, biotechnology, pharmacy, veterinary science) and to be able to collaborate effectively in multidisciplinary teams, with a knowledge of the principles of complementary technologies.


To use systems for the search and retrieval of biomedical information and procedures for clinical data. To be able to understand and critically interpret scientific texts and their sources.


To know about cell function and structure and the techniques that are used to study this area.

Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

General skills

Students should be able to:
— Apply the laws of physics to modelling mechanical problems in different biological situations.
— Apply the concepts, methods and techniques of biomechanics in the study of the functions of the human body.
— Physically and mathematically describe the different mechanical categories of materials, with a particular focus on biomaterials.
— Use the mathematical framework of the different biomechanical models to solve conceptual and numerical problems.


Specific skills

Students should be able to:
— Understand the different types of models used in biomechanics and their usefulness.
— Understand the fundamentals and biomedical applications of force and torque balance in the musculoskeletal system.
— Understand how elastic and viscoelastic bodies deform, and be able to apply this knowledge to biomedical problems.
— Understand the principles and biomedical implications of complex deformations like torsion and bending.
— Understand the biological basis of tissue mechanics.
— Understand the general principles underlying the mechanical interactions between tissue cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix.
— Describe the mechanical hallmarks of soft and hard tissues.
— Understand the notion of stress and strain tensors.
— Solve the equations of linear elasticity in simple 3D configurations.
— Understand the fundamentals of the physics of fluids and their applications, as well as the relevant phenomenology of Newtonian fluids.
— Apply the basic skills of fluid dynamics to problem solving.
— Develop skills in problem solving: clearly evaluate the orders of magnitude and develop a clear perception of the situations that are physically different in fluid flows.
— Understand the analogies in the behaviour of fluid motion.



Teaching blocks


1. Solid mechanics

1.1. Models in biomechanics 
1.2. Statics 
1.3. Deformable bodies 
1.4. Extension, torsion and bending 

2. Biomechanics of biological tissues

2.1. Biological basis of tissue mechanics 
2.2. Biomechanics of soft and hard tissues 
2.3. Viscoelastic behaviour of cells 
2.4. Viscoelastic behaviour of the extracellular matrix (ECM) 
2.5. Cell-ECM mechanical interactions 
2.6. Physiopathological examples of cell-ECM mechanical interactions

3. Fundamentals of continuum mechanics: stress and strain tensors

3.1. Analysis of stress
3.2. Displacements and deformations
3.3. Linear elasticity

4. Fundamentals of fluid dynamics

4.1. Balance equations: mass, momentum and energy 
4.2. Constitutive equations; Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids 
4.3. Navier-Stokes equation; Scaling laws; Dimensional analysis 
4.4. Boundary conditions

5. Flows at small and large Reynolds numbers

5.1. Stokes equation
5.2. Poiseuille and Couette flows; Resistance to motion of solid particles
5.3. Bernoulli and Euler equations
5.4. Potential fluxes
5.5. Hydrodynamic instabilities 



Teaching methods and general organization


The entire course is taught in English. Due to the expected improvement in the pandemic situation, we expect to deliver the course in fully face-to face mode. However, thi smay change according to the evolution of the pandemic. 



Official assessment of learning outcomes


Students are assessed throughout the course, and the final grade combines continuous assessment activities (40% of the final grade) and a final examination (60% of final the grade).

a) Assessment during the learning process: continuous assessment is calculated from one test held during the course (with characteristics similar to the final examination), and a written report on some aspects of the practical content.

b) Final examination: it covers the entire content of theoretical classes and practical work, as well as laboratory practices.

Contents of the examination:

• multiple-choice questions;
• short-answer questions;
• problem-solving exercises.

Assessment criteria:

• understanding of general concepts;
• knowledge of laws, phenomena and processes;
• ability to relate and integrate theoretical knowledge;
• ability to apply knowledge to problem-solving exercises;
• ability to solve numerical exercises.

A minimum grade of 50% is required to pass the course.