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New Course Development: Biomechanics And Biomaterials For Mechanical Engineering Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.928.1 - 13.928.8



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Paper Authors


Anca Sala Baker College

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ANCA L. SALA, Assistant Professor, is Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Baker College. Dr. Sala coordinates several engineering and technology programs, is actively involved in teaching and developing engineering curriculum, and leads the ABET accreditation activities in the department. She is a member of ASEE, ASME, and OSA.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

New Course Development: Biomechanics and Biomaterials for Mechanical Engineering Students


Based on an ABET recommendation for our undergraduate Mechanical Engineering program, and interest from students a new course was developed to introduce Mechanical Engineering students to the topics of Biomechanics and Biomaterials. The course was designed from the beginning to include hands-on activities for students in addition to traditional format lectures. In- depth analyses of various human movements were performed by students using specialized computer software capable of computing and displaying kinematic and dynamic quantities of interest. The movements analyzed included students’ own movements recorded during class with a camcorder and processed with the dedicated software. Students also had access to a library of previously recorded human motions provided with the software. The second part of the course was dedicated to biomaterials and their applications in medicine.

Recording and analyzing a human movement were part of a project completed by students as a course requirement. Students were also asked to research a biomaterial of their choice and describe its properties and medical applications in a scholarly paper. Finally students prepared presentations summarizing the analysis project and the biomaterial paper that were given to the entire class during the final class session.

From the first time the course was taught, it was well received by the students, who participated enthusiastically in the applied portions of the course. Creating our own library of motions for analysis, and adding a laboratory experiments component are some of the future goals for the course.

1. Introduction

Exposing our undergraduate Mechanical Engineering students to wider engineering topics, and specifically to Biomedical Engineering, was one recommendation made to us by ABET as part of the continuous improvement process of our program. Biomedical Engineering is an area of high growth according to the U.S. Department of Labor projections data for 2006-20161. In response to this continued demand, many Biomedical Engineering programs have been added in universities across the United States. In addition, Biomedical Engineering is taught as part of the curriculum of other engineering disciplines as well2, benefiting the students not only through the new knowledge they acquire in the area, but also through its essentially multidisciplinary aspects and wide range of applications.

At our institution we chose to introduce Mechanical Engineering students to the Biomedical Engineering area through a first course on Biomechanics and Biomaterials, both topics closely related to subjects in the Mechanical Engineering program. Biomechanics is a popular topic of study in undergraduate engineering at numerous universities, requiring fairly inexpensive computer software and laboratory equipment3.

Sala, A. (2008, June), New Course Development: Biomechanics And Biomaterials For Mechanical Engineering Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3586

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