In this discipline will be introduced the concepts and formalisms of Biomechanics framed with examples of applications and the laboratory classes.

It is intended that at the end of the course, students demonstrates the bases for the understanding and application of key models used in Biomechanics and resulting equations, particularly in the study of movement and joints, mechanical properties of bones, contraction of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Valentina Borissovna Vassilenko


Weekly - 2

Total - 39

Teaching language



It is highly recommended that students have obtained positive rating in the disciplines of "Mathematical Analysis I and II", "Physics I", "Introduction to Biomaterials" and "Anatomy".


1. Lectures Notes on Biomechanics   - Valentina Vassilenko, FCT/UNL 
2.Fung, Y. C. Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissues, 2nd ed., 1993,  ISBN: 978-0-387-97947-2

3.B.H.Brown, Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 
4.Panjabi, M.M. and White A.A. “Biomechanics in the Musculoskeletal System”, 1st. ed., Churchill Levingtone , 2001
5.  Seeley, T.D.Stephens, P.Tate Anatomia e Fisiologia, Lusodidacta, 2001
6. à Biblioteca à e-Books à The Biomedical Engineering Handbook; Vol.1, 2nd Edition,Ed.J.D.Bronzino, CRC Press LLC, 2000
7. Biomechanical Systems: Techniques & Applications,  Vol. I Computer Techniques and Computational Methods in Biomechanics; Vol. III, Musculoskeletal Models & Techniques; 
8. Problems for Biomechanics and Hemodynamics  – Valentina Vassilenko, FCT/UNL
9. Protocols for Laboratory Lessons – Valentina Vassilenko, FCT/UNL

Teaching method

Teaching consists of three components:

- Lectures (TEOR), where the fundamental concepts of the chair are transmitted, exemplified, and discussed.

- Practical component (PRAT) that consists of performing of 2 laboratory sessions. This component provides learning of measurements of physiological signals of the human body by Biopac equipment, as well as analysing and interpreting the results.

- Seminar (SEM) which consists of the preparation of work on a topic proposed by Professor.

The PRAT and SEM are performed in groups of two students

Evaluation method

Assessment components are the following and have the weights on the final grade that are shown:


• PRACTICAL (CP) - 30%

Each of these elements is graded up to 20 points. 


- The theoretical component grade (CT) is the grade of the Test or Exam;

- The practical component grade (CP), also names as Frequency score,  is calculated from the grades of the laboratorial sessions  (Lab) and the mini-project (Proj) as follows:

  • CP = 33% LAB + 67% PROJ

The grade of the laboratorial sessions (Lab) is the grade of the second report of the 2 laboratory works carried out in the laboratory and delivered for evaluation.

The mini-project grade (Proj) is the grade of the the work done on a topic proposed by the teacher and delivered for evaluation on the agreed date until the end of the semester.

The laboratory sessions  and the mini-project are carried out by groups of two and four students, respectively.

The frequency obtained in the current academic year will be valid in the coming years. It is not possible to improve the frequency grade obtained in the past.


Approval and Final Grade

Approval is determined by the following condition:

• CT> = 9.5 and CP> = 9.5

Intermediate grades are rounded to one decimal place.

The final grade is rounded up to an integer

Academic fraud

Any type of fraud in any component of the assessment causes the student to immediately fail to pass the course in the current academic year (even if there are exams scheduled). This applies both to those students who give information, as well as to who receives information.

Subject matter

1- Introduction to Biomechanics

Definitions and History of Biomechanics.

Methods and measurements in Biomechanics.


2 - Kinematics and Kinetics

Global and local referential

Center of gravity

Kinematic calculus from the experimental data


3 - Mechanical properties of tissues

Mechanical loads on the human body

Relationship Stress / Strain

Elastic solids. Bones

Viscoelasticity. Modelling of the viscoelastic properties


4 - Biomechanics of muscle contraction

Types of muscles. Skeletal muscle.

Sliding filament theory;

Electrical properties of muscles: action potential; neuromuscular junction;

Motor unit and muscle contraction;

Experimental measurements - Electromyography;

Types of muscle contraction.

Hill''''''''s equation.

Smooth muscles.


5 - Heart Biomechanics

Cardiac muscle. Main differences from skeletal muscle.

Contraction of the cardiac muscle.

Electrical properties and relationship to mechanical events.

Modified Hill''''''''s equation for cardiac muscle. Modelling of the cardiac muscle.


6 - Biomechanics of Motion and Joints

Classification of joints & types of motion

Kinematics of joints

Simulation & Modelling


Laboratory sessions:  the laboratorial activity consists in performing works by each student in group of 2 of the following practical works:

1.        Electromyography

2.        Electromyography & Dynamometry


Programs where the course is taught: