Code EA5
Type Elective
Semester A
ECTS credits 5
Teaching Staff Despina Deligianni, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics

Dimosthenis Mavrilas, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics

Aims & Objectives

To introduce students to the concepts underlie the mechanical and biological properties of synthetic and natural biomaterials and tissue engineering principles and scaffolding techniques.

Learning outcomes & Competences

The students will be able to:

  1. Explain the concepts of stress and strain, and the parameters used to characterise the physical bulk and surface properties of materials.
  2. Describe the composition, structure and mechanical properties of the main classes of biomaterials- metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and the body tissues; explain and give an example of how composition, structure and treatment modify the mechanical properties.
  3. Explain how to determine the mechanical parameters of materials experimentally; interpret the results of tests and data sheets according to international standards.
  4. Describe the interactions of biomaterials with the biological environment – stability, corrosion, histo-cyto- and hemo-compatability; explain how these interactions are assessed and influenced by material choice and modification.
  5. Describe and the developments of biomaterials for regenerative therapies and tissue engineering; give an example of tissue engineering technique.
  6. Describe and give an example of how biomaterials are used to fabricate devices for clinical use.


Basic knowledge from topics of materials chemistry, biochemistry, materials strength, cell tissue biology.


  1. Linear elastic solid and linear viscous fluid. Non-elastic behaviour, plasticity, viscoelasticity, fatigue failure.
  2. Surface properties of biomaterials. Surface energy, critical surface tension.Measurement techniques.
  3. Metallic implant materials: Stainless steel, cobalt-chrome, titanium and alloys. Structure and mechanical properties. Fabrication-casting, forging, machining.
  4. Ceramics- aluminium and zirconium based, glass ceramics and bio-glasses, natural ceramics, hydroxyapatite. Structure and mechanical properties, fabrication.
  5. Polymers, addition and condensation. General structure and mechanical properties,glassy and elastomeric polymers. Chemical reactions, degradation of polymers. Polymeric implant materials examples, Poly-amides, -ethanes, -acrylates, -urethanes, hydrogels, fluorocarbons, dialyser membranes. Fabrication of devices.
  6. Composites, fibres and matrix materials. Relation between structure and mechanical properties.
  7. Examples of biomaterial applications, joint replacement, soft tissue replacement, artificial organs. Case study- total hip replacement, metal/ceramic, polyethylene, bone cement. Outcome of implantation.
  8. Interaction of biomaterials and the body. Stability, adsorption, corrosion: electrochemistry, Pourbaix diagram. Resorbable biomaterials.
  9. Cell-material interaction. Structure of proteins, adsorption to surfaces. Cell spreading and locomotion-physicochemical and thermodynamic aspects. Inflammation and wound healing
  10. Haemocompatibility. Example of dialyser membranes. Blood vessel damage, tissue damage; clotting, complement and white cell activation.
  11. Biocompatibility assessment. Cell and tissue culture methods- cytotoxicity, biofunctionality, animal testing.
  12. Biomaterials sterilization principles.
  13. Concepts of tissue engineering. Scaffold characteristics and design methodologies, cell seeding, biofunctionalization, bioreactors.
  14. Ethical issues for tissue engineering & regenerative medicine.

Recommended reading / Bibliography

BlOMATERIALS SCIENCE: An Introduction to Materials in Medicine, B.D. Ratner, A.S. Hoffman, F.J. Schoen, J.E. Lemon. Academic Press, ISBN 0-12-582460-2

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars, laboratory exercises (fabrication of porous polymeric biomaterials, mechanical testing, surface characterization, cell-biomaterial interaction), visits to hospitals & research institutes.


Written exam, project assignment, oral project presentation.