Universal scaling and intrinsic classification of electro-mechanical actuators

Sambit Palit, Purdue University
Ankit Jain
Muhammad A. Alam, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Journal of Applied Physics: Volume 113, Issue 14


Copyright (2013) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics: Volume 113, Issue 14 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4798365. The following article has been submitted to/accepted by Journal of Applied Physics. Copyright (2013) Sambit Palit, Ankit Jain, and Muhammad Ashraful Alam. This article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


Actuation characteristics of electromechanical (EM) actuators have traditionally been studied for a few specific regular electrode geometries and support (anchor) configurations. The ability to predict actuation characteristics of electrodes of arbitrary geometries and complex support configurations relevant for broad range of applications in switching, displays, and varactors, however, remains an open problem. In this article, we provide four universal scaling relationships for EM actuation characteristics that depend only on the mechanical support configuration and the corresponding electrode geometries, but are independent of the specific geometrical dimensions and material properties of these actuators. These scaling relationships offer an intrinsic classification for actuation behavior of a broad range of EM actuators with vastly different electrode/support geometries. Consequently, the problem of analysis/ design of complex EM actuators is reduced to the problem of determining only five scaling parameters, which can be obtained from no more than three independent characterization experiments or numerical simulations.


Electro-Mechanical Systems | Engineering Physics | Non-linear Dynamics