Title page for ETD etd-07062004-141358

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Younis, Mohammad Ibrahim
Author's Email Address myounis@vt.edu
URN etd-07062004-141358
Title Modeling and Simulation of Microelectromechanical Systems in Multi-Physics Fields
Degree PhD
Department Engineering Science and Mechanics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nayfeh, Ali H. Committee Chair
Hendricks, Scott L. Committee Member
Leo, Donald J. Committee Member
Masoud, Ziyad N. Committee Member
Ragab, Saad A. Committee Member
  • Primary and Secondary Excitations
  • Singular Perturbation
  • Dynamic Pull-in
  • Finite Element
  • RF Switches
  • Microbeams
  • Microplates
  • MEMS
  • Electrostatic Actuation
  • Thermoelastic Damping
  • Squeeze-Film Damping
  • Resonators
Date of Defense 2004-06-28
Availability unrestricted
The first objective of this dissertation is to present hybrid numerical-analytical approaches and reduced-order models to simulate microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in multi-physics fields. These include electric actuation (AC and DC), squeeze-film damping, thermoelastic damping, and structural forces. The second objective is to investigate MEMS phenomena, such as squeeze-film damping and dynamic pull-in, and use the latter to design a novel RF-MEMS switch.

In the first part of the dissertation, we introduce a new approach to the modeling and simulation of flexible microstructures under the coupled effects of squeeze-film damping, electrostatic actuation, and mechanical forces. The new approach utilizes the compressible Reynolds equation coupled with the equation governing the plate deflection. The model accounts for the slip condition of the flow at very low pressures.

Perturbation methods are used to derive an analytical expression for the pressure distribution in terms of the structural mode shapes. This expression is substituted into the plate equation, which is solved in turn using a finite-element method for the structural mode shapes, the pressure distributions, the natural frequencies, and the quality factors. We apply the new approach to a variety of rectangular and circular plates and present the final expressions for the pressure distributions and quality factors. We extend the approach to microplates actuated by large electrostatic forces. For this case,

we present a low-order model, which reduces significantly the cost of simulation.

The model utilizes the nonlinear Euler-Bernoulli beam equation, the von K\'{a}rm\'{a}n plate equations, and the compressible Reynolds equation.

The second topic of the dissertation is thermoelastic damping. We present a model and analytical expressions for thermoelastic damping in microplates. We solve the heat equation for the thermal flux across the microplate, in terms of the structural mode shapes, and hence decouple the thermal equation from the plate equation. We utilize a perturbation method to derive an analytical expression for the quality factor of a microplate with general boundary conditions under electrostatic loading and residual stresses in terms of its structural mode shapes. We present results for microplates with various boundary conditions.

In the final part of the dissertation, we present a dynamic analysis and simulation of MEMS resonators and novel RF MEMS switches employing resonant microbeams. We first study microbeams excited near their fundamental natural frequencies (primary-resonance excitation). We investigate the dynamic pull-in instability and formulate safety criteria for the design of MEMS sensors and RF filters. We also utilize this phenomenon to design a low-voltage RF MEMS switch actuated with a combined DC and AC loading. Then, we simulate the dynamics of microbeams excited near half their fundamental natural frequencies (superharmonic excitation) and twice their fundamental natural frequencies (subharmonic excitation). For the superharmonic case, we present results showing the effect of varying the DC bias, the damping, and the AC excitation amplitude on the frequency-response curves.

For the subharmonic case, we show that if the magnitude of the AC forcing exceeds the threshold activating the subharmonic resonance, all frequency-response curves will reach pull-in.

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