Accurate electrostatic and van der Waals pull-in prediction for fully clamped nano/micro-beams using linear universal graphs of pull-in instability

Masoud Tahani, Amir R. Askari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of the fact that pull-in instability of electrically actuated nano/micro-beams has been investigated by many researchers to date, no explicit formula has been presented yet which can predict pull-in voltage based on a geometrically non-linear and distributed parameter model. The objective of present paper is to introduce a simple and accurate formula to predict this value for a fully clamped electrostatically actuated nano/micro-beam. To this end, a non-linear Euler-Bernoulli beam model is employed, which accounts for the axial residual stress, geometric non-linearity of mid-plane stretching, distributed electrostatic force and the van der Waals (vdW) attraction. The non-linear boundary value governing equation of equilibrium is non-dimensionalized and solved iteratively through single-term Galerkin based reduced order model (ROM). The solutions are validated thorough direct comparison with experimental and other existing results reported in previous studies. Pull-in instability under electrical and vdW loads are also investigated using universal graphs. Based on the results of these graphs, non-dimensional pull-in and vdW parameters, which are defined in the text, vary linearly versus the other dimensionless parameters of the problem. Using this fact, some linear equations are presented to predict pull-in voltage, the maximum allowable length, the so-called detachment length, and the minimum allowable gap for a nano/micro-system. These linear equations are also reduced to a couple of universal pull-in formulas for systems with small initial gap. The accuracy of the universal pull-in formulas are also validated by comparing its results with available experimental and some previous geometric linear and closed-form findings published in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
Early online date1 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

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