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Published by AMSS Press, Wuhan, China

Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica, Vol. 26, No. 4, August, 2013 ISSN 0894-9166
STABILITYANALYSIS OF ACAPACITIVEFGM
MICRO-BEAMUSINGMODIFIEDCOUPLESTRESS
THEORY
Behrokh Abbasnejad Ghader Rezazadeh

Rasool Shabani
(Mechanical Engineering Department, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran)
Received 2 June 2011, revision received 12 September 2011
ABSTRACT Based on the Modied Couple Stress Theory, a functionally graded micro-beam
under electrostatic forces is studied. The FGM micro-beam is made of two materials and material
properties vary continuously along the beam thickness according to a power-law. Dynamic and
static pull-in voltages are obtained and it is shown that the static and dynamic pull-in voltages for
some materials cannot be obtained using classic theories and components of couple stress must
be taken into account. In addition, it is shown that the values of pull-in voltages depend on the
variation through the thickness of the volume fractions of the two constituents.
KEYWORDS MEMS, FGMmicro-beam, stability, pull-in voltage, electrostatic pressure, modied
couple stress theory
I. INTRODUCTION
Functionally graded materials are usually a class of microscopically inhomogeneous composites made
of a mixture of a ceramic and a metal with spatially varying continuous material properties. Continuity
prevents FGMfromdelamination due to large inter-laminar stresses, initiation and propagation of cracks
because of large plastic deformation at the interfaces. So FGMs have more advantages in comparison
with other composites. The concept of FGMs was rst proposed in Japan in 1984 by the Sendai group
during a work in a space plane project, thereafter FGMs are developed for a wide range of applications:
such as reactor vessels, fusion energy devices, biomedical materials, aircrafts, space vehicles and military
applications. Therefore, it is very important to know and analyze the static and dynamic behavior of
the FGM structures. Up until now, dynamic and static analysis of FGM beams has been shown in many
researches on the macroscopic scale using classical continuum theory
[13]
.
Nowadays, FGM beams are being used vastly in micro and nano structures such as thin lms in the
form of shape memory alloys
[4, 5]
, micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS)
[68]
and also atomic force microscopes (AFMs)
[9]
.
The thickness of the beams used in MEMS, NEMS and AFMs, is typically on the order of microns
and sub-microns. Size dependent behavior is an inherent property of materials which appears for a
beam when the characteristic size such as thickness or diameter is close to the internal material length
scale parameter
[10]
. The size-dependent static and vibration behavior in micro scale beams have been
experimentally observed in metals
[1113]
, polymers
[1416]
and poly-silicones
[17]
. Lacking intrinsic length
scale parameters of the materials, the scale free classic theories of mechanics cannot give sucient
prediction of the behavior of the materials.

Corresponding author. E-mail: g.rezazadeh@urmia.ac.ir


428 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
Some researchers introduced the classic couple stress elasticity theory based on Cosserat Continuum
Mechanics
[1823]
. The classic couple stress theory contained two classical and two additional material
constants for isotropic elastic materials. Yang et al. resolved the arbitrary nature of couplings in the
classical couple stress theory without the use of rigid vector attachment conditions by introducing a
higher order equilibrium condition as used in the micro-polar theory and indicated that the couple stress
tensor must be a symmetric tensor. Since the symmetric part of the curvature tensor is the additional
measure of deformation that conjugates to the couple stress, the anti-symmetric part of the curvature
tensor does not conjugate to the couple stress and it does not appear explicitly in the deformation
energy density function. They proposed the modied couple stress theory (MCST) in which the couple
stress tensor is symmetric and involves only one internal material length scale parameter
[24]
. Utilizing
MCST and the Hamilton principle, Park and Gao studied the static behavior of size-dependent Euler-
Bernoulli micro-beams
[25]
. Kong et al. derived the governing equation, initial and boundary conditions
of an Euler-Bernoulli beam using the MCST and Hamilton principle
[10]
. As they reported, the stiness
of beams is size-dependent. Also, the dierence between the stiness obtained by the Classic Theory
(CT) and those predicted by the MCST is signicant when the beam characteristic size is comparable
to the internal material length scale parameter.
Recently, Tsiatas studied a new Kirchho plate model for the static analysis of isotropic micro-plates
based on the MCST
[26]
. Kahrobaiyan et al. investigated the size-dependent dynamic characteristics of
atomic force microscope micro-cantilevers
[27]
. Wang considered the size-dependent vibration charac-
teristics of uid-conveying micro-tubes
[28]
. And further, Xia and Wang discussed the size eect on the
nonlinear bending, nonlinear vibration and post buckling of micro-beams
[29]
. All above papers studied
the homogenous materials. However Asghari et al. investigated the size-dependent static and vibration
behavior of micro-beams made of functionally graded materials (FGMs) analytically
[30]
. And most
recently Ke and Wang studied the size eect on dynamic stability of functionally graded micro-beams
subjected to an axial excitation load based on MCST
[31]
.
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are generally classied according to their actuation mech-
anisms. One of the most important actuation mechanisms is electrostatic
[32]
. Study of micro sensors and
micro actuators driven by an electrostatic force because of their small size, batch production, low energy
consumption, low cost and compatibility with the integrated circuits (ICs) is very important. These sys-
tems are main components of many devices such as switches
[33]
, micro-mirrors
[34]
, micro-resonators
[35]
,
micro-actuators
[36]
, accelerometers
[37]
, and tunable capacitors
[38]
. Micro-beams under voltage driving
are widely used in many MEMS devices such as capacitive micro-switches and resonant micro-sensors.
These devices are fabricated, to some extent, in a more mature stage than some other MEMS devices. As
the microstructure is balanced between electrostatic attractive forces and mechanical (elastic) restor-
ing forces, both electrostatic and elastic restoring forces are increased when the electrostatic voltage
increases. When the voltage reaches the critical value, pull-in instability happens. Pull-in is the point
at which the elastic restoring force can no longer balance the electrostatic force. Further increasing the
voltage will cause the structure to have dramatic displacement jump which causes structure collapse
and failure. Pull-in instability is a snap-through like behavior and it is saddle-node bifurcation type
of instability
[39]
. In micro-mirrors
[34]
and micro-resonators
[34]
the designer avoids this instability to
achieve stable motions, while in switching applications
[33]
the designer exploits this eect to optimize
devices performance. Hence it is important to pay attention to static and dynamic stability of the FGM
micro-beams.
In order for an MEMS structural layer to satisfy all material and economical requirements and since
a single layer cant always meet the needs, Witvrouw and Mehta proposed the use of a non-homogenous
functionally graded material (FGM) layer to achieve the desired electrical and mechanical properties
and suggested that a polycrystalline-SiGe (poly-SiGe) layer can be an appropriate choice
[40]
. Hasanyan
et al. studied the pull-in instabilities in a functionally graded MEMS caused by the heat produced
by the electric current
[41]
. Jia et al.
[42]
studied the nonlinear pull-in characteristics of microswitches
consisting of either homogeneous material or non-homogeneous functionally graded material (FGM)
with two material phases under the simultaneous electrostatic and intermolecular forces using CT.
Recently Ballestra et al.
[43]
showed that there are signicance dierences between the experimental
results and results of the numerical analysis based on the classical theory of elasticity for the pull-in
voltage analysis for gold micro-beams. Sadeghianet al.
[44]
illustrated that there is a strong size-dependent
Vol. 26, No. 4 Behrokh Abbasnejad et al.: Stability Analysis of Capacitive FGM Micro-beam 429
mechanical property as the characteristic dimensions (such as micro-beam or nano-beam thickness) of
the structure approach the material length-scale parameter.
In spite of existence of many research concerning the mechanical behavior of MEMS structures, there
is not enough study in the static and dynamic behaviors of electrostatically actuated FGM micro-beams
based on MCST. Therefore in this paper an FGM micro-beam suspended over a substrate is considered.
The micro-beam and substrate are subjected to an electrostatic force by applying a voltage to the beam
and substrate. Static and dynamic stability of the FGM micro-beam is studied when the voltage is
applied statically and when it is implemented as a step DC voltage. And the results based on MCST
are compared with those of CT.
II. MODEL DESCRIPTION AND MATHEMATICAL MODELING
An Euler-Bernoulli FGM micro-beam subjected to a distributed electrostatic load f
e
(x, t) with
length L, width b, thickness h is shown in Fig.1. Material properties of the beam i.e., Young and shear
modulus, Poissons ratio and mass density vary continuously along the beam thickness are function of
z based on a power law and can be given by
[3]
P (z) = (P
l
P
u
)
_
1
2

z
h
_
k
+P
u
(1)
where subscripts u and l refer to material properties of the upper and lower surfaces respectively. k is
the non-negative power-law exponent, which show the material variation prole through the thickness
of the FGM micro-beam. It is worth noting that k = 0 corresponds to a classic beam made of pure
lower material, k = corresponds to a classic beam made of pure upper material, and 0 < k <
corresponds to an FGM micro-beam made of two materials; the lower surface made of the rst material
and the upper surface made of the second material. And k shows the variation rate of the ceramic
constituent percent along the micro-beam thickness. According to the MCST the strain energy can be
written as
[22]
U =
1
2
_

(
ij

ij
+m
ij

ij
)d (2)
where the stress tensor,
ij
, strain tensor,
ij
, the deviatoric couple stress tensor, m
ij
, and symmetric
curvature tensor,
ij
are respectively dened as

ij
=
kk

ij
+ 2G
ij
(3)

ij
=
1
2
(u
i,j
+u
j,i
) (4)
m
ij
= 2l
2
G
ij
(5)

ij
=
1
2
(
i,j
+
j,i
) (6)
where and G are the Lame constants and l is the material length scale parameter. u
i
and
i
are the
components of the displacement and rotation vectors. The components of rotation vector are related
Fig. 1. Schematic view of an FGM micro-beam.
430 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
to the components of the displacement vector eld as following
[10]
:

i
=
1
2
curl (u)
i
(7)
As shown in Fig.1 the displacement eld, based on Euler-Bernoulli beam theory, is given by
u = u
0
(x, t) z(x, t) , v = 0, w = w(x, t) (8)
where u, v, w are the x, y and z directions of the displacement vector, respectively, and u
0
is the axial
displacement of the mid-plane of the micro-beam in the x direction. The rotation angle (x, t) is related
to the deection and can be dened as

w(x, t)
x
(9)
Considering small deformations, longitudinal strain of the FGM micro-beam in the x direction is

xx
=
u (x, t)
x
=
u
0
(x, t)
x
z

2
w(x, t)
x
2
(10)
From Eqs.(7), (9) and (10) it follows that:

y
=
w(x, t)
x
,
x
=
z
= 0 (11)
Substituting Eq.(11) into Eq.(6), components of the curvature tensor can be expressed as

xy
=
1
2

2
w(x, t)
x
2
,
xx
=
yy
=
zz
=
xz
=
yz
= 0 (12)
Substituting Eq.(10) into Eq.(3), the axial stress in x direction can be expressed as

xx
=

E (z)
_
u
0
(x, t)
x
z

2
w
x
2
_
(13)
In Eq.(13),

E for the plane stress condition is equal to E(z) and for the plane strain condition (wide
beam) is equal to E(z) /
_
1 ( (z))
2
_
where (z) is the Poissons ratio. Submitting Eq.(12) into Eq.(5)
one can get:
m
xy
= G(z) l
2
(z)
_

2
w(x, t)
x
2
_
, m
xx
= m
yy
= m
zz
= m
yz
= m
zx
= 0 (14)
Under no axial force, equilibrium equations of forces and couples in a given section of the cantilever
FGM micro-beam can be written as
_
A

xx
dA = 0 (15)
M = M

+M
m
=
_
A

xx
zdA +
_
A
m
xy
dA (16)
where M

and M
m
are components of the bending moment due to the classic stress and couple
stress tensors respectively and M is the external moment applied to the given section.
Substituting Eq.(13) into Eq.(15) one can get:
u
0
(x, t)
x
=
_
_
A
z

E(z) dA
_
A

E (z) dA
_
_

2
w(x, t)
x
2
_
(17)
Considering Eqs.(12) and (13), the components of the bending moment; M

and M
m
can be obtained
as
M

=
_
A
z

E(z)
_
u
0
(x, t)
x
z

2
w(x, t)
x
2
_
dA = (EI)
eq

2
w(x, t)
x
2
(18)
M
m
=
_
A
G(z) l
2
(z)
_

2
w(x, t)
x
2
_
dA =
_
GAl
2
_
eq

2
w(x, t)
x
2
(19)
Vol. 26, No. 4 Behrokh Abbasnejad et al.: Stability Analysis of Capacitive FGM Micro-beam 431
where
(EI)
eq
=
_
A
_
z

E(z)
_
_
A
z

E(z) dA
_
A

E (z) dA
_
z
2

E(z)
_
dA (20)
_
Al
2
_
eq
=
_
A
G(z) (l (z))
2
dA (21)
From Eqs.(18) and (19) the bending moment at a given section in the FGM micro-beam in terms
of the transversal deection w(x, t) can be expressed as
M = M

+M
m
=
_
(EI)
eq
+
_
GAl
2
_
eq
_
_

2
w(x, t)
x
2
_
(22)
In case of xed-xed boundary conditions, the sum of the longitudinal stresses is not equal to zero
and its value depends on the beam deection. This means that the transversal deection of the beam
is coupled with the longitudinal displacement of the beam through the nonlinear terms of the strain
tensor.

xx
=
u (x, t)
x
+
1
2
_
w(x, t)
x
_
2
(23)
For convenience the nonlinear term of the strain tensor can be averaged along the beam length and
consequently a mean value of the generated axial force can be given as
[36]
T
a
(w) =
1
L
_
L
0
_
A

E (z)
1
2
_
w(x, t)
x
_
2
dAdx (24)
Therefore, the equation of static deection of the FGM micro-beam considering axial forces due to the
xed-xed boundary conditions is given by
_
(EI)
eq
+
_
GAl
2
_
eq
_

4
w(x, t)
x
4
T
a
(w)

2
w(x, t)
x
2
= f
e
(x, t) (25)
The distributed external load f
e
(x, t) in the proposed case study is a nonlinear displacement de-
pendent electrostatic force, which is introduced as
[45]
f
e
(x, t) =
bV
2
2 (g
0
w)
2
(26)
where, is the permittivity of the air within the gap, b is the width of the FGM micro-beam, g
0
is the
initial gap between the micro-beam and the substrate and V is the applied DC voltage. Considering
inertial terms, the governing equation for dynamic motion of the micro-beam is obtained as
(A)
eq

2
w(x, t)
t
2
+
_
(EI)
eq
+
_
GAl
2
_
eq
_

4
w(x, t)
x
4
T
a
(w)

2
w(x, t)
x
2
=
bV
2
2 (g
0
w)
2
(27)
where:
(A)
eq
=
_
A
(z) dA (28)
For convenience, the following non-dimensional parameters are utilized:
w =
w
g
0
, x =
x
L
,

t =
t
t

, z =
z
h
, t

=
_
(A)
eq
L
4

E
l
I
_
1/2
s
1
=
(EI)
eq
+
_
GAl
2
_
eq

E
l
I
, s
2
=
bL
4
2

E
l
Ig
3
0

T
a
( w) =
T
a
( w) g
2
0
h
2

E
l
I
, T
a
( w) =
_
1
0
_
1/2
1/2

E ( z)
_
w
_
x,

t
_
x
_
2
bd zd x
(29)
432 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
where

E
l
is the Youngs modulus of elasticity of the material of the beam lower surface. Inserting these
parameters into Eqs.(25) and (27), the following non-dimensional equations for the static and dynamic
deection of the micro-beam are obtained:
s
1

4
w
_
x,

t
_
x
4


T
a
( w)

2
w
_
x,

t
_
x
2
=
s
2
V
2
_
1 w
_
x,

t
__
2
(30)

2
w
_
x,

t
_

t
2
+s
1

4
w
_
x,

t
_
x
4


T
a
( w)

2
w
_
x,

t
_
x
2
=
s
2
V
2
_
1 w
_
x,

t
__
2
(31)
III. NUMERICAL SOLUTION
3.1. Static Analysis
Because of nonlinearity of the governing equation, a step by step linearization (SSLM) method is used
to linearize it
[36]
. Afterwards, the obtained linearized dierential equation is solved using a Galerkin
based weighted residual method. Using SSLM, the voltage applied to the micro-beam and substrate
are increased from zero to its nal value gradually. Its supposed that w
k
s
is the displacement of the
FGM micro-beam due to applied voltage V
k
. In the next step by increasing voltage, the displacement
at the (k + 1)
th
step can be obtained as

V
k+1
=

V
k
+

V , w
k+1
s
= w
k
s
+ w
s
, w
s
= ( x) (32)
The equation of static deection of the FGM micro-beam at (k + 1)
th
step can be expressed as
s
1

4
w
k+1
s
_
x,

t
_
x
4


T
a
_
w
k+1
s
_
2
w
k+1
s
_
x,

t
_
x
2
= s
2
_
V
k+1
1 w
k+1
s
_
x,

t
_
_
2
(33)
Using Calculus of Variation Theory and keeping the rst two terms of Taylors expansion in each
step, its possible to rewrite Eq.(30) in terms of as
s
1

x
4


T
a
_
w
k
s
_

2

x
2
2s
2
_
V
k
_
2
(1 w
k
s
)
3
2s
2
V
k
dV
(1 w
k
s
)
2
= 0 (34)
Considering a small value of V , the value of ( x) will be expected to be small enough to obtain a
desired accuracy.
It is worth pointing out that

T
a
_
w
k+1
s
_
in Eq.(33) is approximated by

T
a
_
w
k
s
_
. This value can be
corrected using an iteration procedure. The obtained linear Eq.(34) can be solved by expressing as
follows:
( x) =

j=1
a
j

j
( x) (35)
where
k
(x) are the proposed shape functions for the FGM micro-beam, satisfying the accompanying
boundary conditions. Using the Galerkin weighted residual method, the unknown ( x) is approximated
by truncating the summation series to a nite number, n:

n
( x)

=
n

j=1
a
j

j
( x) (36)
Substituting Eq.(36) into Eq.(34) and multiplying it by
i
as a weight function in the Galerkin method,
and integrating the outcomes from x = 0 to 1, a set of algebraic equations will be obtained. By solution
of these algebraic equations, deection of the FGM micro-beam can be determined at any given applied
voltage.
Vol. 26, No. 4 Behrokh Abbasnejad et al.: Stability Analysis of Capacitive FGM Micro-beam 433
3.2. Dynamic Analysis
In the dynamic analysis of the FGM micro-beam due to nonlinear nature of the electrostatic force,
direct usage of the Galerkin method is very complicated. Therefore, to prevent the complexity in the
solution, the nonlinear term is considered as a forcing term and its integration over the x domain is
repeated at each time step. By selecting time steps to be small enough, more accurate results will
be obtained. Based on the Galerkin reduced order model, an approximate solution of Eq.(31) can be
expressed as follows:
w
_
x,

t
_

=
n

j=1
q
j
_

t
_

j
( x) (37)
Substituting Eq.(37) into Eq.(31) and multiplying the resultant by
i
and integrating outcome from
x = 0 to 1, the following system of linear ordinary dierential equations can be obtained:
n

j=1
M
ij
q
j
_

t
_
+
n

j=1
_
K
m
ij
+K
a
ij
_
q
j
_

t
_
= F
i
(38)
where q
j
is the time dependent generalized coordinate of the system. M
ij
, K
m
ij
and K
a
ij
are the elements
of the eective mass, mechanical and axial stiness matrices, respectively, which are given by
M
ij
=
_
1
0

j
d x, K
m
ij
= s
1
_
1
0

(iv)
j
d x, K
a
ij
=
_
1
0

T
a
(w)
i

j
d x
F
i
=
_
1
0
s
2
V
2
_
1 w
_
x,

t
__
2

i
d x
(39)
Equation (38) can be integrated over time by any integration method such as Rung-Kutta method. It
must be noted that in the integration procedure of K
a
ij
, integrating over the x domain must be repeated
at each time step due to the displacement dependency of the axial force.
IV. NUMERICAL RESULTS
To compare the obtained results with those existing in literature, a classic xed-xed wide micro-beam
used in Ref.[36] with the following geometrical and material properties is considered here.
E = 169 GPa, b = 50 m, h = 3 m, L = 350 m, g
0
= 1 m
The calculated static pull-in voltage of the micro-beam is 20.1 V, which is in good agreement with
those published in Ref.[36].
Sadeghian et al.
[44]
experimentally showed that the size-dependent mechanical properties for a silicon
cantilever are signicant when the cantilever thickness approaches nano-meter scale. But for a Gold or
Nickel beam, the size dependent behavior is important even for the micro-scale beams
[43, 46, 47]
. Ballestra
et al.
[43]
showed the experimentally obtained pull-in voltage for a gold micro-beam is about 2 times
the theoretical results and P. Pacheco et al.
[46]
reported that experimentally obtained pull-in voltages
for nickel beams are about 9 times the theoretical results. They supposed that the major dierence is
due to the high intrinsic residual axial tensile stress developed in the nickel lm during the fabrication
process (on the order of 150 MPa). But today we can show that these dierences not only are because
of residual stress but also are due to the material internal length-scale parameter.
The micro-beam investigated here is made of Gold and Nickel as the rst and second material
constituents, which have considerable micro-scale length scale parameters. It is considered that the
lower surface of the micro-beam is made of pure Gold and the upper surface is made of pure Nickel.
Geometrical and material properties of the micro-beam are listed in Tables 1 and 2, respectively.
Table 1. Geometrical properties of the FGM micro-beam
Parameter Length L Width b Thickness h Initial gap g0 Permittivity of air 0
Value 541.8 m 32.2 m 2.68 m 2.83 m 8.8541 10
12
F/m
434 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
Table 2. Material properties of the FGM micro-beam
Parameter Value
Material type Gold Nickel
Youngs modulus E 98.5 GPa 200 GPa
Poissons ratio 0.44 0.31
Mass density 19300 kg/m
3
8900 kg/m
3
Shear modulus G 27 GPa 76 GPa
Length scale parameter l 1.12 m 5.0 m
Fig. 2. Variation of the Youngs modulus (a) and the mass density through the thickness of the FGM micro-beam (b).
Based on parameters listed in Tables 1 and 2, mechanical behaviors of the micro-beam for dierent
values of the power law exponent (dierent are obtained and shown in Figs.2(a) and 2(b). These gures
show the variation of Youngs modulus and density of the micro-beam along the thickness as stated in
Eq.(1).
4.1. Stability of Equilibrium Positions
Figure 3 illustrates the equilibrium positions or xed points of the xed-xed micro-beams for k = 5
versus applied voltage as a control parameter using the classic elasticity theory (dashed lines) and
modied couple stress theory (solid lines). As shown in Figs.3(a) and 3(b), for a given applied voltage
based on the lumped model analysis, the micro-beam has two xed points or equilibrium positions
above the substrate, but for the distributed model analysis for low applied voltages, the number of
equilibrium positions of the system is one and for high applied voltages is two. In order to study the
stability of the xed points, phase portraits are given for the micro-beam motion with k = 5 for dierent
applied voltages and dierent initial conditions. As shown in Fig.4(a) when there is no applied voltage
Fig. 3. The center gap of the FGM xed-xed micro-beam versus applied voltage: (a) based on lumped model analysis;
(b) based on distributed model analysis.
Vol. 26, No. 4 Behrokh Abbasnejad et al.: Stability Analysis of Capacitive FGM Micro-beam 435
Fig. 4. Phase portraits of the FGM cantilever micro-beam with dierent initial conditions.
(V = 0 V), there exists only one stable center equilibrium position at zero (w = 0 ). But if one pays
attention to Fig.4(b), it can be found that for a given applied voltage the rst xed point is a stable
center and the second is an unstable saddle node. As shown in Fig.4(b), there are a basin of attraction
of the stable center and a basin of repulsion of the unstable saddle node.
The rst basin of attraction of the stable center is bounded by a homoclinic orbit. Depending on
the location of the initial condition, the system can be stable or unstable. As shown in Figs.3 and 4(c),
as the applied voltage approaches a critical value, the stable (S.B) and unstable branches (U.S.B) of
the xed points meet together at a saddle-node bifurcation point
[48]
. The voltage corresponding to the
saddle node bifurcation point is well-known as the static pull-in voltage (V
sp
) in the MEMS literature.
However in Fig.4(d) for an applied voltage bigger than the static pull-in voltage, there is one unbounded
basin of repulsion of the unstable saddle node. In other words, when the applied voltage is equal or
greater than the static pull-in voltage there is no basin of stable attractors on the upper side of the
substrate and the micro-beam is unstable for any initial conditions.
In addition, Fig.3 represents a comparison between the modied couple stress and classic beam
theories. As shown, applying MCST shifts right the saddle-node bifurcation point and hence increases
the calculated static pull-in voltage.
Figure 5 shows the variation of the ratio of the static pull-in voltage calculated by MCST (V
MCST
sp
)
to the static pull-in voltage of a gold micro-beam calculated by CT (V
Au-CT
sp
) versus beam thickness
(h) for dierent value of k.
As illustrated in Fig.5 by increasing the h , the static pull-in voltage ratio (V
MCST
sp
/V
Au-CT
sp
) for
k = 0 approaches one, but in lower value of h the dierences between the two theories is so considerable.
These dierences for high enough value of k will be greater as a result of the high value of Nickel length
scale parameter. In addition as shown in Fig.5 increasing the h, for high enough value of k value of
V
MCST
sp
/V
Au-CT
sp
converges to V
Ni-CT
sp
/V
Au-CT
sp
.
Figure 6(a) shows the variation of the ratio of the non-dimensional natural frequency calculated
using MCST (
MCST
) to the non-dimensional natural frequency of a gold micro-beam calculated using
436 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
Fig. 5. Variation of the static pull-in voltage ratio versus h.
CT (
Au-CT
) versus beam thickness; h for dierent value of k. It can be shown that the dierence
between two theories depends on the value of h. Figure 6(a) depicts that for k = 0 the increase in the
value of h causes the non-dimensional natural frequency ratio (
MCST
/
Au-CT
) is closed one. However
at lower value of h, the dierences between the two theories is so considerable. As shown in Fig.6(a)
when the value of k is higher enough, these dierences will be greater because of high length scale
parameter of Nickel.
Figure 6(b) illustrates the non-dimensional natural frequency of the FGM xed-xed micro-beam
using MCST for dierent values of power law exponent (k) versus applied voltage. As shown in Fig.6(b),
increasing the value of k increases the value of natural frequency for a given applied voltage due to
increasing in equivalent micro-beam stiness. In addition, it is shown that the value of natural frequency
is decreased by increasing the applied DCvoltages until the natural frequency of the micro-beambecomes
zero at the static pull-in voltage. In other words, Fig.6(b) emphasizes that the pull-in instability is a
kind of stationary instability.
Fig. 6. (a) Variation of non-dimensional frequency ratio versus beam thickness and (b) non-dimensional frequency of the
xed-xed FGM micro-beam versus applied DC voltage with h = 2.68 m using MCST.
4.2. Application of a Step DC Voltage
Due to the dependency of the electrostatic force on both the voltage and deection (w), pull-in
occurs at a voltage less than V
sp
when the voltage is applied in the form of a step DC voltage. Figure
7 shows the response of the xed-xed FGM micro-beam to a step DC voltage for k = 5. As shown in
Fig.7 the response of the FGM micro-beam to the application of small step DC voltages is a periodic
response, and when increasing the value of the applied voltage, due to the displacement dependency of
the nonlinear electrostatic force and decreased equivalent stiness, period of the oscillations is increased
and symmetry breaking occurs in motion trajectories. It must be noted that the scenario of instability
in the case of applying step DC voltage is dierent from its statically application. As depicted in Fig.3,
when the applied DC voltage approaches the static pull-in voltage, the system tends to an unstable
Vol. 26, No. 4 Behrokh Abbasnejad et al.: Stability Analysis of Capacitive FGM Micro-beam 437
Fig. 7. (a) Time history and (b) phase portrait of the micro-cantilever for k = 5.
equilibrium position by undergoing a saddle node bifurcation. A saddle node bifurcation is a locally
stationary bifurcation and can be analyzed based on locally dened eigenvalues. In addition to local
bifurcations, periodic orbits appear that cannot be analyzed based on locally dened eigenvalues. Such
phenomena are called global bifurcations
[49]
.
In Fig.7(b), it is shown that how a periodic orbit approaches a homoclinic orbit at the dynamic
pull-in voltage. Indeed, the periodic orbit ends at the dynamic pull-in voltage where a homoclinic orbit
is formed. In another words, it can be said that a homoclinic bifurcation happens when the periodic
orbit collides with a saddle point at the dynamic pull-in voltage. The results of the previously published
reports show that the dynamic pull-in voltage is less than about 92% of the static one
[50]
, which is
in good agreement with the present results. Moreover, for a given micro-beam thickness the dynamic
pull-in voltage predicted using MCST is greater than that predicted using CT.
Figure 8 shows the variation of the ratio of the dynamic pull-in voltage calculated using MCST
(V
MCST
dp
) to the dynamic pull-in voltage of a pure gold classic micro-beamcalculated using CT (V
Au-CT
dp
)
versus beam thickness (h) for dierent value of k. As illustrated in Fig.8, by increasing h the dynamic
pull-in voltage ratio (V
MCST
dp
/V
Au-CT
dp
), like static pull-in voltage ratio for k = 0, approaches one, but
at lower value of h the dierences between the two theories is so considerable. These dierences for
high enough value of k will be greater as a result of the high value of the Nickel length scale parameter.
In addition, as shown in Fig.8 increasing h, for high enough value of k, the value of V
MCST
dp
/V
Au-CT
dp
converges to V
Ni-CT
dp
/V
Au-CT
dp
.
Fig. 8. Variation of the dynamic pull-in ratio versus beam thickness.
V. CONCLUSION
In the present work, the mechanical behavior of a xed-xed FGM micro-beam subjected to a
nonlinear electrostatic pressure using Modied Couple Stress Theory and Classic Theory was studied.
It was assumed that the lower surface was made of pure Gold and the upper surface was made of pure
Nickel. Considering a power-law form to represent the continuous variation of material properties along
438 ACTA MECHANICA SOLIDA SINICA 2013
the beam thickness, the nonlinear dierential equation of motion based on MCST was derived. The
static instability of the FGM micro-beam for a xed-xed micro-beam was studied through solving the
equation of static deection implemented with SSLM.
It was shown that for a given applied voltage based on the lumped model analysis, two equilibrium
positions or xed points exist and in the distributed model analysis depending on the value of the
applied voltage, one or two equilibrium positions in the upper side of the substrate exist. Based on
illustrated trajectories in phase portraits, the rst of them is a stable center and the second one is an
unstable saddle node.
Increasing the applied voltage, as a control parameter, the rst and second xed points in the
state-control space approach each other and in a specic voltage, called the pull-in voltage in MEMS
literature; they meet at a saddle node bifurcation point. Results showed that by increasing the power law
constant (increasing the percent of the Nickel constituent) the position of the saddle node bifurcation,
because of increased equivalent micro-beam stiness, moves to the right in the state-space. In the case
of applying a step DC voltage, the system reach an unstable state by a global homoclinic bifurcation at
the critical voltage called the dynamic pull-in voltage, which is about 92% of the static one independent
of values of k.
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