A low-g electrostatically actuated resonant switch

A. Ramini, M. I. Younis, Q. T. Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This work investigates a new concept of an electrostatically actuated resonant switch (EARS) for earthquake detection and low-g seismic applications. The resonator is designed to operate close to the instability bands of frequency-response curves, where it is forced to collapse dynamically (pull-in) if operated within these bands. By careful tuning, the resonator can be made to enter the pull-in instability zone upon the detection of the earthquake signal, thereby snapping down as an electric switch. Such a switching action can be functionalized for alarming purposes or can be used to activate a network of sensors for seismic activity recording. The EARS is modeled and its dynamic response is simulated using a nonlinear single-degree-of-freedom model. Experimental investigation is conducted demonstrating the EARS' capability of being triggered at small levels of acceleration as low as 0.02g. Results for the switching events for several levels of low-g accelerations using both theory and experiments are presented and compared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025006
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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