Computational Biomechanics


The Computational Biomechanics research group combine biological data with computer software to construct a variety of biomedical models to simulate behaviours. The models can then be used to more accurately design and test new implants, therapies, and clinical procedures.

The group within MDRI have a strong focus on biomechanics, drawing on the expertise from within the biomechanics and implants research group. With expertise across micro-CT, mechanical testing and finite element analysis the group offer an integrated approach to in vitro studies.

Flinders University are the first researchers in Australia to apply Digital Volume Correlation (DVC) software to micro-CT images. We have the technical capabilities, software and expertise to provide full field deformation and strain measurements.


Virtual testing of orthopaedic devices

One of the MDRI's strengths virtual testing of orthopaedic devices as part of the design and development process, to account for patient and surgical variability.

Novel computational tools are being developed to help account for patients and surgical variability in the design of orthopaedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements and spinal products. These tools will reduce the time, give greater insight in implant performance and ultimately lead to safer implants with improved longevity.


Personalised musculoskeletal models

The MDRI have pioneered the use of personalised musculoskeletal models by developing methods for integrating into models anatomical and functional information taken from the participant using clinical examinations. We integrate musculoskeletal models of human motion with finite-element models of bone mechanics, allowing us to simulate the mechanics of bone during activity. 

Sensitivity studies allow us to quantify and rank the effect of uncertainties on model parameters, either arising from measurement errors or model assumptions, in order to determine the trade-off between model complexity and accuracy for the intended application.

We have developed inverse electromyography (EMG) -driven methods capable of providing a spectrum, rather than a single optimal solution, of muscle forces consistent with the available EMG recordings and the measurement error. This technology is currently used for the development of novel exercise intervention for promoting hip strength.

Figure 1 - Integrated musculoskeletal and finite-element models of the femur. The figure displays a detail of the hip district.


Recent research projects include:


Virtual Human Knee

ARC Discovery Grant

In late 2017, MDRI researchers secured an ARC Discovery Grant to investigate the ‘Virtual Human Knee’ which will inform understanding of knee mechanics to develop solutions to prevent knee injury and assess knee reconstruction and implantation surgery. Click here to read more.

This project brings together a collaboration of global experts from Flinders University, University of Adelaide, University of Sheffield UK and University of Denver USA.

Dr Saulo Martelli (Flinders); Prof Mark Taylor (Flinders); A/Prof John Costi (Flinders); Dr Claudia Mazza (The University of Sheffield UK); Dr Kevin Shelburne (University of Denver); Prof Lucian Solomon (The University of Adelaide).



In late 2017 MDRI researcher's also secured an $557,389 ARC Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant, for a ‘Large-volume multi-use micro computed tomography’ scanning machine. This is the highest 2018 LIEF grant to be awarded across SA and for which Dr Perilli secured a further $495,000 co-investment by Flinders University, The University of Adelaide and South Australian Museum.

This project aims to augment the existing X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT) scanning capabilities in South Australia and Australia by introducing a large-volume micro-CT scanner. This will enable 3D-scanning of large and heavy samples including human limbs/segments, prosthetic devices and machine parts, fossils and composites. For more information click here.

The collaborative project includes experts in micro-CT imaging, biomechanics, computational modelling, structural engineering, composites, biology, palaeontology and anthropology: Lead researcher Dr Egon Perilli (Flinders), Prof Mark Taylor (Flinders), Prof John Long (Flinders); A/Prof Youhong Tang (Flinders), A/Prof Karl Sammut (Flinders), Prof Benjamin Cazzolato (The University of Adelaide), A/Prof Zonghan Xie (The University of Adelaide), Em/Prof Roger Seymour (The University of Adelaide), Dr Togay Ozbakkaloglu (The University of Adelaide), Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar (The University of Adelaide), Dr Mark Hutchinson (South Australian Museum).


For further information about Biomedical Computational Modelling research with the MDRI, contact