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Introduction to Biomechanics (BMEN30005)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeBMEN30005
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


The main aim of this course is to introduce students to the basic concepts of the kinematics and dynamics of human motion and the architectural features and mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissue. Tissue function is then illustrated in the context of normal and pathological movement.


Specific topics covered include: Motion of a Rigid Body (reference frames, angular velocity, two points fixed on a rigid body); Measurement and Processing of Kinematic Data; Body Anthropometry (calculation of centre of mass and mass moment of inertia); Forces and Moments (moments of force, muscle moment arm, inverse dynamics analysis); Work, Energy, Power (kinetic energy, potential energy, elastic strain energy); Tissue Biomechanics (muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone); Orthopaedic Biomechanics: biomechanics of gait across the lifespan, biomechanical adaptations to training, knee osteoarthritis).

Intended learning outcomes


Having completed this subject the student is expected -

1 - to understand the basic concepts of mechanics and appreciate the ways in which they can be applied to the study of human movement;
2 - to learn about some of the common experimental methods used in biomechanics, with particular emphasis on movement;
3 - to understand about some of the basic principles of tissue biomechanics, especially bone, cartilage, ligament and muscle.

Generic skills

On completing this subject, students should have developed -

  • The ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals.
  • The ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
  • The ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance.
  • Proficiency in engineering design.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
  • A capacity for creativity and innovation.
  • The ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
  • A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

Eligibility and requirements



Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
BMEN20001 Biomechanical Physics & Computation
Semester 1

OR both of

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
COMP20005 Engineering Computation
Semester 1
Semester 2
ENGR20004 Engineering Mechanics
Summer Term
Semester 1
Semester 2



Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
MAST20029 Engineering Mathematics
Summer Term
Semester 1
Semester 2

OR both of

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
MAST20009 Vector Calculus
Semester 1
Semester 2
MAST20030 Differential Equations
Semester 2

For students enrolled in MC-ENG Master of Engineering (Biomedical) or (Biomedical with Business), BMEN20001 Biomechanical Physics and Computation and MAST20029 may be taken concurrently with BMEN30005.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Basic knowledge of engineering mechanics, including the position, velocity and acceleration of particles and rigid bodies moving in a plane; angular velocity of a rigid body moving in a plane; free-body analysis of forces acting on a rigid body; and mechanical energy, including kinetic energy and potential energy.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • One hour and twenty minutes written test mid semester (10%)
  • Three assignments throughout the semester (10% each) requiring approximately 15 hours of work each
  • One written examination of two hours duration at the end of semester (60%).

ILOs 1 to 3 are assessed in the final written examination, the mid-semester test, and submitted assignments.

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorMarcus Pandy
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours of lectures; 12 hours of tutorials; 12 hours of workshops
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Abernethy B et al. Biophysical Foundations of Human Movement. Human Kinetics.

    Recommended texts and other resources

  • Breadth options

    This subject is available as breadth in the following courses:

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019