Micromechanical systems (MEMS) based on electrostatic actuators are commonly involved in driving and actuating high-speed micro-structures. For this to be efficient, these micro-actuators must produce sufficient actuating force in order to achieve the required large strokes for such operations (usually in the order of tens of microns). However, this larger amount of displacement will require high actuation electrostatic voltages (typically in the order of hundreds of volts) or larger actuator dimensions, resulting in a bulky and inefficient design. To overcome these challenges, this paper examines the possible use of the snap-through instability in an electrostatically actuated and initially curved (shallow arch) clamped-clamped microbeam actuator arrangement. An extended version of the variational Hamilton principle is applied to derive nonlinear equations governing the steady-state behavior of the structure under step DC load. These equations are solved by effectiveness meshless numerical Galerkin decomposition technique. A convergence study is performed to show the effectiveness and advantages of the applied numerical approach to the formulated nonlinear problem. The investigation inspects different initial curvature profiles (first three symmetric buckled modes: first, third, and fifth modes) for the shallow arch. It was reported that the presence of the snap-through instability, for all investigated initial profiles, in the structural behavior of the micro-actuator produces a non-trivial order of magnitude increase in its resultant displacement as compared to the classical parallel-plate actuator with identical geometrical dimensions and operating conditions. In addition, out of the assumed first three symmetric buckled modes to outline the initial curvature of the shallow arch microbeam, only the first and fifth modes showed a strong impact on the micro-actuator performances.
ASJC Scopus subject areas