MPHYGB21/MPHYMB21/MPHY3B21: Aspects of Bioengineering

Course Information

Course Credits
Term 2
Assessment Exam
Course Organiser
Prof Alan Cottenden

Aims and Objectives

This module aims to provide an introduction to biomaterials (with a particular emphasis on their mechanical properties); biomechanics; engineering design (as it applies to biomedical systems); and tissue engineering. At the end of the module students should be able to understand the foundational principles pertinent to each lecture session and be able to apply them to real-life problems.

Brief Syllabus

Course Lecture hours
Mechanical properties of materials 5
Biomaterials 7
Biomechanics 8
Engineering design 4
Tissue engineering 6

Lectures for the first four sections will be delivered by Prof Alan Cottenden (Module Organisor) and the fifth by Prof Robert Brown and his colleagues. Lecture notes, associated slide presentations and assignment sheets are posted on the Moodle site for the module. 


We assume that you have met the minimum entry requirements for our undergraduate degree programmes (i.e. A level Mathematics (grade A preferred), Physics and one other A level at ABB or above, or equivalent). We also expect students to have taken at least one additional maths module in year 1 or 2. If you feel you meet the prerequisites through a non-standard route, please contact the module organiser. All variants of the modules (MPHY3B21, MPHYMB21 and MPHYGB21) have the same prerequisites.

Specific knowledge assumed:

Mathematics: Familiarity with manipulation of equations, trigonometry, differential and integral calculus (mixed polynomial, geometric and exponential functions), exponentials, vectors, cylindrical coordinates.

Physics / Engineering: No strict prerequisites but familiarity with forces, stresses, displacement, strains, Young’s modulus, work, potential and kinetic energy, mechanical equilibrium, moments and conservation of energy would be helpful. The concepts will be revised quickly and then applied to the specific areas of biomaterials and biomechanics.

Biology: None, but need to be willing to grapple with the life science concepts introduced in the tissue engineering portion of the module.

Other: None, but be aware that this module focuses on applying theory to the (messy) real world, setting problems up and learning to make reasonable simplifying assumptions to generate useful insights, solutions and approximations.


Two hour closed-book written examination