Biomechanics is a component of Encyclopedia of Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.
The enormous progress in the field of health sciences that has been achieved in the 19th and 20th centuries would have not been possible without the enabling interaction and support of sophisticated technologies that progressively gave rise to a new interdisciplinary field named alternatively as bioengineering or biomedical engineering. Although both terms are synonymous, the latter is less general since it limits the field of application to medicine and clinical practice, while the former covers semantically the whole field of interaction between life sciences and engineering, thus including also applications in biology, biochemistry or the many '-omics'. We use in this book the second, with more general meaning, recalling the very important relation between fundamental science and engineering. And this also recognizes the tremendous economic and social impacts of direct application of engineering in medicine that maintains the health industry as one with the fastest growth in the world economy.
Biomechanics, in particular, aims to explain and predict the mechanics of the different components of living beings, from molecules to organisms as well as to design, manufacture and use of any artificial device that interacts with the mechanics of living beings. It helps, therefore, to understand how living systems move, to characterize the interaction between forces and deformation along all spatial scales, to analyze the interaction between structural behavior and microstructure, with the very important particularity of dealing with adaptive systems, able to adapt their internal structure, size and geometry to the particular mechanical environment in which they develop their activity, to understand and predict alterations in the mechanical function due to injuries, diseases or pathologies and, finally, to propose methods of artificial intervention for functional diagnosis or recovery.
Biomechanics is today a very highly interdisciplinary subject that attracts the attention of engineers, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, material specialists, biologists, medical doctors, etc. They work in many different topics from a purely scientific objective to industrial applications and with an increasing arsenal of sophisticated modeling and experimental tools but always with the final objectives of better understanding the fundamentals of life and improve the quality of life of human beings. One purpose in this volume has been to present an overview of some of these many possible subjects in a self-contained way for a general audience.
This volume is aimed at the following major target audiences: University and College Students, Educators, Professional Practitioners, and Research Personnel.