Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Mechanical Engineering (cod. 5724)

Learning outcomes

The student gains information and develops specific skills on the different families of polymers, ceramics and composite materials applied to the biomedical field, understanding their specific interaction with the biological site of use and/or implantation. The student learns the chemical, physical, mechanical and surface properties of polymeric, ceramic and composite biomaterials, to understand their selection and use in the design and fabrication of biomedical devices, including implantable solutions. The student gains basic knowledge of the formulation of polymeric biomaterials, ceramics and composites.

Course contents

Prior requirements/prior knowledge:

  • a prior kwoledge and understanding of Materials Science and Technology T is required to attend with profit this course.
  • Fluent spoken and written Italian is a necessary pre-prequisite: all lectures will be offered in Italian.

Contenuti del corso:

  • Introduction to biocompatibility and interaction between biomaterials and the physiological environment.
  • Classification of polymeric, ceramic and composite biomaterials and their technical features. Chemical and compositional aspects and their influence on biocompatibility and interaction with biological tissues. Properties of the interfaces between biomaterials and biological tissues. Properties/application correlations and specific biomedical use of biomaterials.
  • Production processes for polymeric, ceramic and composite biomaterials.
  • Surface modifications.
  • Main families of polymers and polymer-based composites for biomedical use: thermoplastics and thermosets, elastomers. The role played by additives on biocompatibility. Applications and case studies.
  • Main families of ceramics, glasses, ceramic-based and glass-based composites for biomedical use: siicates, alumino-silicates, metal oxides, bioglasses. Applications and case studies.
  • Sterilization: industrial processes, effects of sterilization on materials and devices.
  • Degradation and wear phenomena and their related effects on biomedical materials.
  • Examples of biomedical devices: orthopedic and dental implants, ophthalmic devices, cardiovascular devices, scaffolds for tissue regeneration, sutures, rapid prototyping and custom made devicese.

A video-presentation of the teaching is available through the Links to further information, at the bottom of the page.


  • Slides used to support lecturing are made available on Virtuale.
  • M. C. Tanzi, S. Farè, G. Candiani. Foundations of biomaterials engineering. Academic Press Elsevier, 2019.
  • B. D. Ratner, A. S. Hoffman, F. J. Schoen, J. E. Lemons. Biomaterials science - An introduction to materials in medicine. Academic Press Elsevier, 2013.
  • R. Narayan, Biomedical materials. Springer, 2009.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures in the classroom. Seminars on specific topics held by experts. Optional visits to research laboratories/companies working in the biomedical field.

Attendance is recommended for a better learning of fundamental concepts.

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by means of a final oral exam. The oral session consists of 2-3 questions aimed to an analytic assessment of the expected learning outcomes, that are:

  • Knowledge of the main principles driving interaction between biomaterials and physiological environment, degradation and wear, and durability in the application site.
  • Knowledge of the main families, properties and applications of polymeric, ceramic and composites biomaterials.
  • Ability to make the correct selection of the most suitable biomaterial and treatment to satisfy specific function in use.

To obtain a passing grade, students are required to demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject and a comprehensible use of technical language. A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key concepts of the subject and an inappropriate use of the technical language. Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate an organic and deep understanding of the subject, a good capability of connecting different topics and a proper use of technical language.

The final grade will be calculated as the arithmetic average of the single grades that the student will receive in the two modules (this one and Metallic biomaterials). If the result of the average presents the decimal number 0.5, the grade will be rounded in excess. In order to obtain the "30 cum laude" final evaluation, the student must be in one of the following two cases:

  • have received "30 cum laude" in both modules
  • have received "30 cum laude" in one module and 30 in the other

Examinations schedule will made available in advance on the University of Bologna web site AlmaEsami. Students intending to take the exam must subscribe in AlmaEsami and must show a valid ID document on the day of the exam.

Teaching tools

Slides used to support lecturing are made available on Virtuale.

Seminars and optional visits to research laboratories/companies working in the biomedical field.

Any tools for the students with disabilities can be agreed with the DSA Student Service of Unibo.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Micaela Degli Esposti