Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Intro to Biomechanics

BME 24100 / 4 Cr.

This course combines didactic lecture and laboratory and will introduce the student to the principles of biomechanics in the context of the musculoskeletal system. Topics include: fundamental concepts of mechanics, force systems and couples (including muscle and joint forces), free body diagrams, stress analysis and failure of materials (including analysis of bone strength), mechanical behavior of soft tissues, dynamics of particles and rigid bodies (including analysis of gait), and impulse (including analysis of injury).


Statics and Mechanics of Materials (2011) – FP Beer, ER Johnston Jr., JT DeWolf, DF Mazurek (ISBN 978-0-07-338015-5)


To introduce students to fundamental concepts of mechanics and biomechanics.


By the end of this course, you should be able to, among other things:

  • Analyze vectors (vector algebra)
  • Express forces in 3-D space
  • Draw free body diagrams of rigid bodies
  • Apply vector algebra to rigid bodies
  • Apply vector algebra to rigid bodies to analyze moments, couples, etc.
  • Apply equilibrium conditions to rigid bodies
  • Determine centroids of lines, areas, and volumes
  • Calculate friction forces
  • Calculate 2nd moments of area
  • Infer the state of stress and strain at a given point in a biological structure under torsional, axial, bending and other types of loads
  • Employ theory of combined stresses to find maximum tensile, compressive and shear stresses in an element
  • Calculate three dimensional force vectors using a force plate
  • Calculate joint forces from 2D joint motion measurements
  • Measure strain in a beam under complex loading using foil strain gauges
  • Harvest and mechanically test musculoskeletal tissues
  • Newton’s Laws as applied to skeletal system
  • Forces and moments
  • Analysis of systems at equilibrium – free body diagrams
  • Introduction to skeletal tissues
  • Concepts of stress: axial, torsion and bending
  • Analysis and design of beams
  • Shear in beams and thin-walled members
  • Transformation of stresses
  • Beam deflection
  • Column buckling