Teaching plan for the course unit



Català English Close imatge de maquetació




General information


Course unit name: Medical Implants

Course unit code: 364598

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Josep Samitier Marti

Department: Department of Electronic and Biomedical Engineering

Credits: 3

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 75


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture with practical component

Face-to-face and online




-  Student presentation and discussion

Face-to-face and online



Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study



To use IT tools to search for reference resources or information related to medical technologies and bioengineering (Personal).


To be able to work independently (Personal).


To gain knowledge of basic and technological subjects required to learn new methods and technologies and ensure versatility and the ability to adapt to new situations (Personal).


To be able to take further studies and to develop a positive attitude in order to keep knowledge up-to-date in a process of lifelong learning. To have sufficient depth of knowledge to start postgraduate studies in the field of advanced biomedical engineering.

Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

• Acquire an understanding of the biocompatibility of materials currently used in medicine.


• Learn about the constitutive behaviour of biomaterials.


• Develop an understanding of biomechanical design issues.


• Learn to evaluate fatigue and prevent fracture of medical implants.


Referring to abilities, skills

• Develop the ability to select the most suitable materials for medical implant designs.



Teaching blocks


1. Overview of biomaterials, tissues and regulatory issues

— Overview of biomaterials used in medical devices; Review of structural materials: metals, ceramics, polymers and composites
— Review of structural tissues and constituents: bone, cartilage, vascular tissue and dental tissues 

2. Constitutive behaviour and biomechanical design issues

— Elastic behaviour, multiaxial loading, time-dependent behaviour
— Yield criteria and permanent deformation in devices
— Fracture criteria and design concerns with brittle materials / stress concentrations
— Fatigue: total life and defect-tolerant philosophies
— Friction, wear and lubrication

3. Clinical issues

— Regulatory issues and product development
— Orthopaedics: total joint replacement, soft tissue repair and spinal implants
— Cardiovascular: catheters, stents, grafts
— Dental: implants, restoration
— Soft tissues: reconstruction and augmentation
— Intellectual property: patents, device development, legal and ethical issues



Teaching methods and general organization


The course includes lectures on quantitative treatment of biomechanical issues and constitutive relationships of materials, in order to design implants for structural function. 
Case studies of clinical failures, designs and material behaviour are presented. Learning activities develop knowledge of the different types of biomaterials, and the capacity to adequately select them for different biomedical applications.

The course is taught in English.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


Examination: 50%.

Problem-solving exercises: 10%.

Team design project: 40%.

Teams: two students.

Project on the clinical evolution of medical devices

Each team is given a modern medical device that restores function to diseased or damaged tissue, organ or joint space in the body. The project requires the team to produce a professional written report (8 pages) that addresses the historic development of this medical device.

The report should cover the disease’s etiology that calls for an implant and should highlight the associated structural functions or requirements of the medical device.



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


Mechanics of Biomaterials: Fundamentals principles for implant design - L. Pruitt and A. Chakravartula. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. UK 2011.


Selected papers from international journals.