BIE6434: Cardiovascular Biomechanics

Spring Semester
Optional on Programmes: MECT40, MECT53


The human body is remarkably complex and in recent years we started using our understanding of mechanics, physiology and computer models to embrace this complexity. Some of these models are already being tested by our clinical colleagues to improve diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as stroke or coronary disease. This module will introduce students to the knowledge required to use these models appropriately, with the aim of training the next generation of engineers that will form the workforce in this important and innovative sector.

Dr Alberto Marzo, Module Lead

Module Description

This module aims to provide you with an overview of state-of-the-art modelling approaches used to study the cardiovascular system from a biomechanical perspective. The module starts with a brief review of relevant principles and theories in fluid mechanics, followed by anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, including blood rheology and vessel tissue mechanics. The second part gives you an overview of the modelling, analytical and experimental methods applied to several parts of the cardiovascular system. The final part will focus on more specialised topics, like the application of modelling techniques to investigate correlations with disease.

Key Concepts & Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of Fluid Mechanics and Computational Fluid Dynamics

Teaching Methods

• Lectures

• CFD lab sessions 

• Independent study including CFD lab analysis, review of the literature on human cardiovascular anatomy and specific cardiovascular topics.

Assessment Methods

• 60% Written Exam: Examination papers consist of short-answers, numerical examples and essay questions.

• 40% Coursework: Will consist of an individual critical study of a specific clinical problem by using CFD modelling techniques learned during the course after performing a review of the literature on the specific topic.

Module Aims

• Provide fundamental knowledge of human anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system to engineering students.

• Teach students the application of theoretical and numerical approaches to the study of the cardiovascular system biomechanics.

• Give students an overview of the range of experimental techniques used in validation of the models.

• Have an appreciation of the challenges encountered when modelling the complexity of the human body.

• Develop in students an understanding of how some of the traditional engineering approaches can be used to solve specific and current clinical challenges, with emphasis on their effectiveness and limitations.

• Challenge students to apply their existing foundational understanding of engineering to a greater range and depth suitable for a research, clinical or industrial environment

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.