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MEMS devices utilize electrostatics as preferred actuation method. The accurate determination of pull-in instability parameters (i.e., pull-in voltage and pull-in displacement) of such devices is critical for their correct design. It should be noted that similar to parallel plate capacitors, the electrostatic force between the surface of the deformable microbeam and stationary ground is non-linear in nature. Hence the analysis associated with MEMS devices is always inherently non-linear. In the literature, these devices have been majorly analyzed as Bernoulli-Euler microbeams with cantilever or clamped-clamped beam end conditions. However, Dileesh et al. (doi: 10.1115/ESDA2012-82536) have studied the static and dynamic pull-in instability behavior of slender cantilever microbeams by developing a six-nodded spectral finite element based on the Timoshenko beam theory (TBT-SFE). They have demonstrated the accuracy of the TBT-SFE by comparing their results with corresponding results of COMSOL-based three-dimensional finite element simulations. In addition, effects of shear deformation also start to play significant role as the beam thickness-to-length ratio increases. In this paper, authors have developed the TBT-SFE based on the work by Dileesh et al. for the case of statics. However, unlike Dileesh et al. where they have developed a six-nodded TBT-SFE, authors have investigated the best combination of number of nodes per element and total number of elements to carry out the study. For this purpose, authors have first calculated results of the maximum beam transverse displacement, for a shear deformable propped-cantilever microbeam under the action of uniformly distributed transverse load, obtained by utilizing the developed TBT-SFE with different combinations of number of nodes per element and total number of elements. These results are then compared with corresponding analytical results available in the literature to arrive at the best combination of number of nodes per element and total number of elements for the electrostatic-elastic analysis. In the second step, the finalized TBT-SFE is utilized to determine static pull-in instability parameters of narrow microbeams with various fixity conditions and beam thickness-to-length ratios. This study highlights the importance of transverse shear effects on pull-in instability parameters of Timoshenko microbeams.MEMS
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