Universität Wien FIND

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300138 VO Biomechanics for Biologists (2020W)

2.00 ECTS (1.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


Language: English

Examination dates



The first online session will be held on Friday, the 2nd of October from 10.30 to 12.00. Following lectures will be held on a weekly basis. Times may be adjusted to fit collective timetable requirements.


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course aims to build up the knowledge of
• engineering concepts that are applicable to biological systems;
• methods and approaches useful for analysis of biomechanical properties and motion of organisms;
• how evolution and adaptation are reflected in the biomechanics of living things

Course plan (chapters and subchapters have unequal size, length of topics may be adjusted to match time and students' interests)
1. Introduction (brief history and orienteering, Newtonian physics and the SI system of units)
2. Materials
2.1 solids (stress and strain, curve, Hookean materials, Young modulus, elastic and plastic behaviour, yield stress, the energy of failure, crack propagation, composites, strain homeostasis, engineering structures)
(TASK: use tensile stress data to extract material properties)
2.2 fluids, viscoelastic solids and non-Newtonian fluids
(TASK: Explore Finite Elements Analysis for a cantilever beam)
3. Motion
3.1 solid skeletons (bones as cantilevers, moving segments, muscle, locomotion and energy)
(TASK: Explore Multibody Dynamics Analysis for human and ostrich locomotion)
3.2 hydrostatic skeletons (fibre reinforced hydrostats, moving a hydrostatic body)
3.3 fluid dynamics (viscosity and drag, velocity and pressure, boundary layer, flying, swimming, internal flows)
(TASK: Explore Finite Element Analysis for internal flow of fluid in a pipe)

Assessment and permitted materials

a Literature review (3-5 research papers on a relevant topic in biomechanics)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements are attendance of 4/5th of the online lectures and completion off-line tasks (evidence of such). A successful ESSAY will show: i) factual knowledge of the biomechanical aspects of biology; ii) engagement with engineering and mathematical concepts; iii) knowledge of main methods and examples of relevant software; iv) expert navigation of literature; v) a suggestion of further research question(s) that involves biomechanics

Examination topics

Reading list

Association in the course directory

MAN 3, MAN W-5, MZO W-1, MZO W-4, M-WZB, MES5, PhD

Last modified: Tu 26.01.2021 16:30