In Chapter 3 we had talked about the various fields of specialization in Mechanical Engineering. Biomechanics & Biomaterial engineering was one of the fields we talked about. In this post you will get an idea of the subfields in Biomechanics, the subjects involved and the tools required in order to have a successful career.

Biomechanics is one of the fast-growing fields in engineering, it is projected that there will be a 60% increase in job opportunities in this field by 2020.

NOTE: As I started exploring deep into the subfields, I was lost in the immense amount of information in this field, and how the cool concepts that we see every day is a result of some of these fields. I have attached reference links, if you are curious you might be lost as well 😛

  • Soft-Body Dynamics – If you are a mechanical engineer who is absolutely into gaming and wonders about the realness of the games then Soft body dynamics is a topic you should know. It is computer graphics that meets finite elemental analysis and understands the biology of nature to produce visually realistic physical simulations of the motion and properties of deformable objects (or soft bodies). Unlike in the simulation of rigid bodies, the shape of soft bodies can change, meaning that the relative distance of two points on the object is not fixed. While the relative distances of points are not fixed, the body is expected to retain its shape to some degree (unlike a fluid). The scope of soft body dynamics is quite broad, including simulation of soft organic materials such as muscle, fat, hair, and vegetation, as well as other deformable materials such as clothing and fabric. In-order to know more, here are couple of links that you can check out
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics_engine#Soft-body_dynamics
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft-body_dynamics
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Finite Elemental Analysis (FEA) & Understanding of soft bodies (human parts, nature, clothes, etc.). Tools – Autodesk Maya is one tool we found that facilitates Soft Body Dynamics
  • Sports Biomechanics is where laws of mechanics are applied to human movement in order to gain a greater understanding of athletic performance and to reduce sports injuries. It focuses on the application of the scientific principles of mechanical physics to understand movements of action of human bodies and sports implements such as cricket bat, hockey stick and javelin, etc. Biomechanics in sports can be stated as the muscular, joint, and skeletal actions of the body during the execution of a given task, skill, and/or technique. Proper understanding of biomechanics relating to sports skills has the greatest implications on sport’s performance, rehabilitation, and injury prevention, along with sport mastery. [1]
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomechanics
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Elements of mechanical Experimental mechanics – e.g. – strain gauges, Kinematics, Numerical Methods, Gait Analysis – e.g. – animal locomotion.
  • Continuum biomechanics involves the mechanical analysis of biomaterials and biofluids. It is usually carried using the concepts of continuum mechanics. The mechanical characteristics of these materials rely on physical phenomena occurring in multiple levels, from the molecular level to all the way up to the tissue and organ levels.
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Linear elasticity to analyze hard tissue (Wood, shell, bone,etc.) and finite strain theory and computer simulations (skin, tendon
  • Biofluid mechanics is the study of both gas and liquid fluid flows in or around biological organisms. E.g. Study of blood flow in the human cardiovascular system. An example of a gaseous biofluid problem is that of human respiration. Recently, respiratory systems in insects have been studied for bioinspiration for designing improved microfluidic devices.
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Fluid Mechanics, Biofluids
  • Biotribology, is a study of friction, wear, and lubrication of biological systems especially human joints such as hips and knees.
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Theory of contact mechanics, friction, wear, and lubrication.
  • Comparative Biomechanics, is the application of biomechanics to non-human organisms, in order to gain greater insights into humans or into the functions, ecology, and adaptations of the organisms themselves.
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Mentioned in Biomechanics, Biomimetics
  • Computational Biomechanics, determine the endo-anatomical response of an anatomy, without being subject to ethical restrictions
    • Topics you need to focus on to increase your job prospect – Finite element Analysis, Numerical Methods.

Well that’s it, these are some of the common Biomechanics fields, one thing you might have noticed is the dependency of Finite elemental Methods, so if you are someone who is interested in Biology and equipped in FEA and Mechanics, this might be an interesting field.

Next up, we discuss the best universities for pursuing Masters in Biomechanics.

Stay tuned.

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