BME 371: Mechanics of Biological Tissues

Quarter Offered

Winter : MWF 11-11:50 ; Dhaher


GEN ENG 205-3,4; BME 271


This course covers the fundamentals of continuum mechanics and constitutive modeling relevant for soft biological tissues. Constitutive models covered include nonlinear elasticity and viscoelasticity. If time permits, an introductory poroelasticity will be presented. Structure-function relationships which link tissue morphology and physiology to tissue constitutive models will be covered for ligaments, muscles, skin, and nervous tissues.

Who Takes It

BME juniors, seniors, and first year graduate students


  •  Index Notation, Vectors, and Tensors
  •  Continuum Mechanics Concepts of Stress, Strain and Momentum Balance
  • Determination of Boundary Conditions
  •  Constitutive Models Using Strain Energy : Nonlinear Elasticity and Viscoelasticity
  • Skeletal Soft Tissue (cartilage, ligament/tendon, muscle) Structure-Function
  •  Skin, Nerve Structure-Function
  •  Strain energy representation of soft tissues constitutive models
  • Experimental paradigms used to identify mechanical properties of soft tissues
  • Procedures for estimating material coefficients


1) Web-based notes provided by Instructor

2) Text Books on the reference desk in the engineering library:
  •   Nonlinear Solid Mechanics : A Continuum Approach for Engineering Gerhard A. Holzapfel Graz University of Technology, Austria
  •   Continuum Mechanics for Engineers, Second Edition George E. Mase Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA G. Thomas Mase Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan USA
  • Nonlinear Theory of Elasticity Applications in Biomechanics Larry A Taber Washington University, USA
  • Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissues, Second Edition Yuan-Cheng Fung University of California San Diego, USA

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