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Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

This course introduces the field of biomaterials, specifically the use of synthetic materials to make medical devices for the repair or replacement of diseased or damaged tissue/joints in the body. This will include an understanding of the need to balance the required performance and functionality of the medical device with the biological response to the device. The concept of biocompatibility will be introduced. Students will gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of designing and developing medical devices and will use some case studies to demonstrate this.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Iain R. Gibson

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

In this course, students will learn the importance of design requirements for the development of biomaterials for use in medical devices, and the need to develop an interdisciplinary approach to be able to understand the need to balance the required performance and functionality of the medical device with the biological response to the device. The following topics are indicative of what will be covered:

 - Natural and synthetic biomaterials – consideration of the different classes of materials, namely metals, polymers, composites, ceramics and glasses.

- Characterisation techniques used to evaluate the properties of biomaterials; chemical, physical, mechanical and biological characterisation.

- How medical devices are manufactured/synthesised from biomaterials.

- Biological response to implanted medical devices, including the concepts of biocompatibility, tissue integration and immune response.

- Establishing the design requirements of biomaterials in a medical device for a specific application.

- Case studies of some common medical devices and the biomaterials used to make these: contact lenses, total hip replacement, tooth root implant, synthetic bone graft, and a coronary stent.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Online open book exam (70%)

Coursework (30%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandDescribe the types of biomaterials used for different types of medical devices and why they are selected for a specific application.
ConceptualUnderstandDiscuss how the properties of a biomaterial can be determined, from its physical properties through to its biological properties.
ConceptualApplyShow an understanding of the design requirements for selecting the appropriate biomaterial(s) for producing a medical device, based on case studies.
ProceduralApplyDemonstrate a working knowledge of the different biological responses to an implanted medical device and how biomaterial selection will influence this.
ConceptualEvaluateDiscuss the interdisciplinary approach required to develop new medical devices by bioengineers.

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