MTE5885 - Biomaterials and biomechanics - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Nick Birbilis


Professor Laurence Meagher

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)




The aim of this unit is to link the requirements of clinical medicine to engineering through advanced materials design and fabrication in the framework of new medical devices, therapeutics and diagnostics. Topics covered in the unit include cell biology and biomechanics at the cellular level, biocompatibility, tissue engineering and other composite material/cell applications, The use of stem cells in conjunction with materials and the use of materials to guide cellular fates and properties is of high relevance. A detailed study of medical additive manufacturing (3D printing) in metals, polymers and cells will be provided. Strong connection to how materials can contribute to solutions that address unmet clinical need will be made throughout the unit.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of in vitro and biocompatibility studies and how they relate to the development of materials for medical devices.
  2. Describe in detail the key elements of how cells interact with materials and how biomechanical information can be interpreted and processed by cells to direct their fate.
  3. Critically evaluate material type, biomechanical and other properties, design and performance requirements in the context of clinical use for a specific medical device, therapeutic or diagnostic application.
  4. Apply critical judgement to the selection of materials and processes for additive manufacturing of medical products in the light of the design, manufacture and regulation requirements of medical devices or implants.
  5. Describe in detail the current clinical uses of additive manufacturing and give examples of prospective applications.
  6. Distinguish between the different ways combinations of cells and materials can be used to treat clinical conditions and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of these different strategies with respect to disorders that they may be applied to clinically.


Continuous assessment: 50%

Examination (2 hours): 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 3 hours of labs and tutorial practice and 6 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Materials science