Compliant bistable micromechanisms have been proposed for use in applications such as switches, relays, shutters, and sensing arrays. Unpublished laboratory testing suggests that off-axis forces may affect the bistable nature of fully compliant bistable micromechanisms (FCBMs). The actuation forces required to snap the FCBM from one stable equilibrium position to another can be altered if the off-axis forces are applied to the mechanism during transition between stable positions. Understanding the three-dimensional characteristics of these mechanisms and the effect of eccentric loading conditions would be helpful in design and analysis of FCBMs. Two 3-D FEA models were developed for analysis and validation purposes. The 3-D solid element model includes great detail regarding the geometry and boundary conditions of the FCBMs. Including fillets, residual stress, and anchors proved to generate more accurate results. The 3-D beam element model is greatly simplified, and primarily used to validate the results produced by the 3-D solid element model. Both models were validated through comparison to experimental data. A test suite of FEA runs was constructed to better understand the 3-D behavior of FCBMs. A chief discovery provided by the test suite results was the existence of two phenomenon conditions, defined as Phenomenon 1 and Phenomenon 2. Phenomenon 1 tended to occur when smaller off-axis forces were included in the model. When comparing the two phenomenon, larger pitch rotation, smaller out-of-plane motion, larger reaction forces, and a more consistent bistable mechanism was associated with Phenomenon 1. Phenomenon 2 tended to occur when larger applied forces were included in the model. Once this phenomenon was generated, the FCBM tended to remain in this condition. Reduced reaction forces, larger out-of-plane motion, and a tendency of non-bistability were characteristics of this phenomenon. The FCBMs could experience much larger in-plane applied forces before transitioning to Phenomenon 2. In contrast, relatively small out-of-plane forces caused the same transition. The FCBMs proved to be well behaved when being pulled into their alternate stable position rather than being pushed. A pushing motion caused the shuttle to roll, pitch and yaw in an inconsistent manner.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





compliant, bistable, MEMS, micromechanisms, sensors, acceleration, sensing array, FCBM, FCBMs