Characterization of the mechanical behavior of an electrically actuated microbeam

Eihab M. Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed I. Younis, Ali H. Nayfeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

477 Scopus citations


We present a nonlinear model of electrically actuated microbeams accounting for the electrostatic forcing of the air gap capacitor, the restoring force of the microbeam and the axial load applied to the microbeam. The boundary-value problem describing the static deflection of the microbeam under the electrostatic force due to a dc polarization voltage is solved numerically. The eigenvalue problem describing the vibration of the microbeam around its statically deflected position is solved numerically for the natural frequencies and mode shapes. Comparison of results generated by our model to the experimental results shows excellent agreement, thus verifying the model. Our results show that failure to account for mid-plane stretching in the microbeam restoring force leads to an underestimation of the stability limits. It also shows that the ratio of the width of the air gap to the microbeam thickness can be tuned to extend the domain of the linear relationship between the dc polarization voltage and the fundamental natural frequency. This fact and the ability of the nonlinear model to accurately predict the natural frequencies for any dc polarization voltage allow designers to use a wider range of dc polarization voltages in resonators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-766
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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