The Biomechanical Materials Testing Laboratory at Flinders University specialises in testing a vast range of material properties of simple and complex structures, joints and tissues in normal and pathological conditions, prostheses, orthopaedic and surgical devices.

These capabilities provide a range of applications to assist industry and researchers from materials characterisation and prototype testing to design and manufacture.

The Biomechanical Materials Testing Laboratory is a unique facility which uses the following specialist testing systems:

  • CellScale BioTester (biaxial micro-mechanical testing)
  • Hexapod Robot (six degree of freedom testing)
  • Instron Servohydraulic materials testing system (single axis)

The laboratory is managed and run by a Biomechanical Engineer who can provide contract services covering all aspects of testing.


CellScale BioTester

The first of its kind in Australia, the CellScale BioTester is a micromechanical, tensile testing system specifically designed for characterising soft tissue and biomaterials.  Tissue samples, which can be as small as 3-15 mm in size, are held securely in place using special tungsten 'BioRakes' attached to four motorised arms.  Tension can be applied in uniaxial or biaxial directions, whilst the temperature-controlled water bath allows specimens to be tested in hydrated conditions.  Regional variations in surface tissue strains can also be monitored using non-contacting optical methods.

Current projects include the characterisation of anulus fibrosus tissue in ovine and human intervertebral discs. 

For more information about the CellScale BioTester and specifications, please refer to the CellScale web site.



Hexapod Robot

The Hexapod robot is a state of the art six degree of freedom testing system capable of producing either single-axis, or multi-axis (e.g. bending + shear + rotation) displacements or rotations to any material, joint, implant or surgical device.

Examples are spine segment testing, small joint testing (e.g. wrist, finger, ankle and elbow) and even larger joints such as complex knee, hip and shoulder joint loading under restricted, yet functional ranges of motion.

Displacement resolutions of less than 25 micrometres are achievable with this system, while maintaining high system stiffness and load capacity (>20kN).

Download the Hexapod Robot flyer (PDF 422KB)  for more information, including specifications.

View Flinders Uncut - quick overview of Hexapod Robot


Instron Servohydraulic Materials Testing System

The Instron Servohydraulic materials testing system is capable of applying forces of more than 2,000 kg to a specimen. The Instron Servohydraulic materials device enables the testing of a number of properties such as:

  • the tensile strength
  • compressive strength
  • fatigue resistance
  • crack growth resistance
  • bend characteristics etc

These can be performed on materials such as metals, prostheses, ceramics, textiles, elastomers, biomedical and biological materials and virtually any other material used in industrial and medical applications.


For further information on any of the above resources, please contact Dr. John Costi, Senior Lecturer, Biomedical Engineering.

Phone: 08 8201 3323