Electrostatic instability is one of the main features of many electrostatic MEMS and NEMS devices. In this paper, we investigate how the electrostatic instability of a plate-like electrode can be affected by a differential pressure. The results of this study indicate that the presence of differential pressure can have a significant influence on the equilibrium path, the number and location of unstable points, and the post-instability behavior. As a result, while the system is loaded and unloaded electrically, the electrostatic instability might lead to a snapping behavior. The noticed snapping behavior of a flat plate makes it very appealing for sensing and actuating applications. This study is based on both a semi-analytical framework and finite element simulations. The proposed analytical solution is shown to be accurate enough to be used as an effective tool for design.
- Electrostatic instability
- Nonlocal elasticity