Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Biomechanics of the Musculoskeletal System

ME 40200 / 3 Cr. (3 Class)

Mechanical design of organisms, with emphasis on the mechanics of the musculoskeletal system. Selected topics in prosthesis design and biomaterials; emphasis on the unique biological criteria that must be considered in biomechanical engineering design.


Nigg and Herzog Biomechanics of the Musculo-skeletal System, John Wiley & Sons, 1994.


To provide students with an understanding of how living organisms optimize structures to adapt to the mechanical demands of their environment.


After completion of this course, the students should be able to:

  1. Construct free body diagrams and calculate forces on human joints [e]
  2. Explain the role of remodeling in repair and replacement of bone [a]
  3. Apply failure criteria to determine when solid material or bone will fail [a]
  4. Be able to calculate stress and strain from elasticity equations for orthotropic or transversely isotropic materials [a, e]
  5. Be able to calculate principal stresses and strains for anisotropic materials [a, e]
  6. Explain the concept of mechanical adaptation of biological tissues [j, k]
  7. Apply biological adaptation strategies to engineering applications [c]
  8. Apply viscoelasticity models to explain mechanical properties of ligament and tendon [a]
  9. Explain the compressive mechanics of cartilage based upon biochemical composition [j]
  10. Explain tissue engineering in terms of cellular biomechanics and biology [j]
  11. Apply the basic mechanics of muscles to explain muscle function [g, j]
  12. Apply mechanics of material to derive criteria for orthopaedic implant design [a, h]

Note: The letters within the brackets indicate the general program outcomes of mechanical engineering. See: ME Program Outcomes.

  1. Tissue engineering of cartilage (2 classes)
  2. Nature of viscoelasticity in biphasic materials and mechanics of cartilage (2 classes)
  3. Bone biology and structure (2 classes)
  4. Bone mechanotransduction and fundamentals of bone biomechanics. Basic theory of elasticity (4 classes)
  5. Criteria for yielding including Tsai-Wu criterion (1 classes).
  6. Computer aided optimization and skeletal scaling (2 classes).
  7. Muscle physiology (2 classes).
  8. Muscle mechanics (1 classes).
  9. Tendons and Ligaments (2 classes)
  10. Mechanics of human motion (2 classes)
  11. Statically determinant systems (1 classes)
  12. Statically indeterminant systems (1 classes)
  13. Orthopedic prosthesis design (2 classes).