Biomechanics - Mechanics of biological tissues


Biomechanics and Mechanics of biological tissues aim at investigating the mechanical functionality of biological tissues and structures, considering both healthy and pathologic conditions and accounting for interaction phenomena with biomedical, surgical and prosthetic devices.

Investigations are frequently developed by means of experimentations on animal models and clinical trials. On the other side, the exploitation of computational methods can reduce and replace such activities, drastically decreasing ethical, time and economic costs. The development of computational models requires coupled experimental and computational activities. CT and MRI data provide information for the geometrical characterization of the anatomical district. Histological analyses and mechanical tests on biological samples from human and animal models allow the constitutive definition and identification of tissue mechanics.

Subsequently, the computational approach allows the in-silico analysis of procedures and devices’ functionality accounting for the influence of many variables, whose experimental investigation should be largely expensive and time consuming. Furthermore, computational methods supply data that experimental activities barely provide, as the strain and the stress fields that regulate important mechano-biological phenomena.

In this sense, the methods of Biomechanics and Mechanics of biological tissues provide a powerful, reliable and sustainable methodology for investigating biomedical procedures and devices. In conclusion, a unique approach is adopted, where in silico mathematical modeling, in vitro tests, and in vivo trials are synergistically integrated to rationally design novel procedures and devices.

Research activities are carried out in framework of the CMBM and also by cooperation with international research centers. Extended relationships are maintained with European and North American Universities, research centers and industries, aiming at the development of international research projects.

Examples of foot modeling

Educational Program

Educational activity is carried out at the University of Padova by courses of Biomechanics, Tissue mechanics and Computational biomechanics belonging to the Engineering School, within the frame of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering degrees.
Within the Medical School courses of Biomechanics and courses on Mechanics of biological tissues are offered. Advanced courses pertaining to the area of biomedical and material engineering and addressed to post graduates, doctoral students and professionals are offered by means of the funding of European Commission, involving universities, research centres and industries.


Software and hardware for computational modelling are the main equipment at disposal. In particular, general purpose finite elements software, pre- and post-processors are used, even if relevance is given to homemade codes developed for specific advanced problems. The hardware equipment is composed by High Performance Computing workstations and servers:

HPC Server Fujitsu Primergy RX4770 M3 (96 cores – 192 threads Intel Xeon E7 8890 v4, 512 GB RAM, SSD HD)

HPC Server LENOVO ThinkSystem SR950 (192 cores – 384 threads Intel Xeon Platinum 8260, 2 TB RAM, SSD HD)

Mechanical and coupled linear and non-linear analyses are carried out by using the general-purpose software Abaqus Standard and Abaqus Explicit, FEBio and Comsol Multiphysics. Pre- and Post-processing of computational models is performed by means of Materialise NV Mimics, 3D Systems Geomagic and Abaqus CAE.

Experimental activity is carried out by using specific equipment for testing biological tissues and biomaterials:

Bose ElectroForce Planar Biaxial Test System
Uni- and Bi-axial mechanical testing
Different load cells with capacity up to 22 N, 200 N, 400 N
Optical system for strain evaluation
Bio-reactor to test tissues and biomaterials maintaining them in a controlled or sterile environment

Biomomentum model Mach-1 v500csst MA009
Multiaxial mechanical testing of tissues and biomaterials (tensile and compression loading, shear, torsion and indentation)
Different load cells with capacity up to 1.5 N (uniaxial), 17 N (multiaxial), 70 N (multiaxial) and 250 N (uniaxial)
Optical system for strain evaluation

Mechanics of biological structures
The characterization of the mechanical behavior of biological structures is developed by means of inflation tests, using an ad hoc developed testbench, which is equipped with a Verderflex Peristaltic Pump, pressure and flow sensors, and National Instruments acquisition devices.

Example of numerical modelling in dental mechanics

Interaction phenomena occurring between dental implants and cortical-trabecular tissues in the lower jaw reported with regard to the misfit condition induced by the coupling of the bar with the implants.

Example of numerical modelling in uretra mechanics

Interaction phenomena occurring between dental implants and cortical-trabecular tissues in the lower jaw reported with regard to the misfit condition induced by the coupling of the bar with the implants.

Example of numerical modelling in abdominal wall mechanics

The use of a synthetic meshes for abdominal hernia repair is investigated by numerical model that interprets the different phases of the surgical procedure. The effects induced by active contraction of the abdominal muscular system are also considered.