Nonlinear dynamics of a resonant gas sensor

A. H. Nayfeh, H. M. Ouakad, F. Najar*, S. Choura, E. M. Abdel-Rahman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


We develop a mathematical model for a resonant gas sensor made up of an microplate electrostatically actuated and attached to the end of a cantilever microbeam. The model considers the microbeam as a continuous medium, the plate as a rigid body, and the electrostatic force as a nonlinear function of the displacement and the voltage applied underneath the microplate. We derive closed-form solutions to the static and eigenvalue problems associated with the microsystem. The Galerkin method is used to discretize the distributed-parameter model and, thus, approximate it by a set of nonlinear ordinary-differential equations that describe the microsystem dynamics. By comparing the exact solution to that associated with the reduced-order model, we show that using the first mode shape alone is sufficient to approximate the static behavior. We employ the Finite Difference Method (FDM) to discretize the orbits of motion and solve the resulting nonlinear algebraic equations for the limit cycles. The stability of these cycles is determined by combining the FDM discretization with Floquet theory. We investigate the basin of attraction of bounded motion for two cases: unforced and damped, and forced and damped systems. In order to detect the lower limit of the forcing at which homoclinic points appear, we conduct a Melnikov analysis. We show the presence of a homoclinic point for a loading case and hence entanglement of the stable and unstable manifolds and non-smoothness of the boundary of the basin of attraction of bounded motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cantilever microbeam
  • FDM
  • Gas sensor
  • MEMS
  • Resonator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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