This paper presents a novel application of utilising nonlinear air damping as a soft mechanical stopper to increase the shock reliability for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) vibration energy harvesters. The theoretical framework for nonlinear air damping is constructed for MEMS vibration energy harvesters operating in different air pressure levels, and characterisation experiments are conducted to establish the relationship between air pressure and nonlinear air damping coefficient for rectangular cantilever MEMS micro cantilevers with different proof masses. Design guidelines on choosing the optimal air pressure level for different MEMS vibration energy harvesters based on the trade-off between harvestable energy and the device robustness are presented, and random excitation experiments are performed to verify the robustness of MEMS vibration energy harvesters with nonlinear air damping as soft stoppers to limit the maximum deflection distance and increase the shock reliability of the device.
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Chen, S-T., Du, S., Arroyo, E., Jia, Y., & Seshia, A. A. (2017). Shock reliability enhancement for MEMS vibration energy harvesters with nonlinear air damping as a soft stopper. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 27(10), . https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6439/aa82ed