Electromechanical model of electrically actuated narrow microbeams

Romesh C. Batra, Maurizio Porfiri, Davide Spinello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A consistent one-dimensional distributed electromechanical model of an electrically actuated narrow microbeam with width/height between 0.5-2.0 is derived, and the needed pull-in parameters are extracted with different methods. The model accounts for the position-dependent electrostatic loading, the fringing field effects due to both the finite width and the finite thickness of a microbeam, the mid-plane stretching, the mechanical distributed stiffness, and the residual axial load. Both clamped-clamped and clamped-free (cantilever) microbeams are considered. The method of moments is used to estimate the electrostatic load. The resulting nonlinear fourth-order differential equation under appropriate boundary conditions is solved by two methods. Initially, a one-degree-of-freedom model is proposed to find an approximate solution of the problem. Subsequently, the meshless local Petrov-Galerkin (MLPG) and the finite-element (FE) methods are used, and results from the three methods are compared. For the MLPG method, the kinematic boundary conditions are enforced by introducing a set of Lagrange multipliers, and the trial and the test functions are constructed using the generalized moving least-squares approximation. The nonlinear system of algebraic equations arising from the MLPG and the FE methods are solved by using the displacement iteration pull-in extraction (DIPIE) algorithm. Three-dimensional FE simulations of narrow cantilever and clamped-clamped microbeams are also performed with the commercial code ANSYS. Furthermore, computed results are compared with those arising from other distributed models available in the literature, and it is shown that improper fringing fields give inaccurate estimations of the pull-in voltages and of the pull-in deflections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1189
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Fringing fields
  • Meshless local Petrov-Galerkin (MLPG) method
  • Microactuators
  • Microbeams
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) modeling
  • Microsensors
  • Microstructures
  • Pull-in instability
  • Pull-in voltage
  • Reduced order models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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