Scope of the course
Biomechanics is a vast subject. As Prof. J. D. Humphry defined it, it deals with application, extension, and development of principles and techniques of mechanics to biological entities and systems. The notion of biological enties and systems is also vast. It spans multiple length scales from single biological molecules to large organisms such as elephants and banyan trees. It can be argued that the behaviour of all of these is governed by mechanics as we know it for the inanimate materials. It is true to a large extent at the large sizes and small extent at the very small sizes. But there are many differences between living and non-living systems. Living systems respond actively to external stimuli, they grow, they heal, and show remarkable resilience not found in inanimate systems. Their internal structure is largely inhomogeneous at different levesls of hierarchy. Material properties are vastly different from those of material without life. How then one treat them with the established principle of mechanics? That is why, perhaps, Humphrey is careful in adding the words "extension" and "development" rather than mere application of mechanics to biological entites and systems.
In this course, we limit ourselves to solids. The purpose of this course is to provide basic understanding of mechanics and its application to biological systems. One should not hope that they become experts in mechanics by taking this course. Nevertheless, one can hope that they will be exposed to basic principles and methods of mechanics so that they can begin to analyze biological solids and systems. The course lays equal empahsis on funadamental principles and practical implementation using computation.
Topics covered include elastic mechanics (continuum and discrete modeling); energy methods; basic statistiacal mechanics; diffusion and mechanobiology.