Nonlinear phenomena such as internal resonances have significant potential applications in Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for increasing the sensitivity of biological and chemical sensors and signal processing elements in circuits. While several theoretical systems are known which exhibit 1:2 or 1:3 internal resonances, designing systems that have the desired properties required for internal resonance as well as are physically realizable as MEMS devices is a significant challenge. Traditionally, the design process for obtaining resonant structures exhibiting an internal resonance has relied heavily on the designer’s prior knowledge and experience. However, with advances in computing power and topology optimization techniques, it should be possible to synthesize structures with the required nonlinear properties (such as having modal interactions) computationally. In this work, a preliminary method for computer based synthesis of structures consisting of beams for desired internal resonance is presented. The linear structural design is accompalished by a Finite Element Method (FEM) formulation implemented in Matlab to start with a base structure and iteratively modify it to obtain a structure with the desired properties. Possible design criteria are having the first two natural frequencies of the structure in some required ratio (such as 1:2 or 1:3). Once a topology of the structure is achieved that meets the desired criterion (i.e., the program converges to a definite structure), the linear mode shapes of the structure can be extracted from the finite element analysis, and a more complete Lagrangian formulation of the nonlinear elastic structure can be used to develop a nonlinear two-mode model of the structure. The reduced-order model is expected to capture the appropriate resonant dynamics associated with modal interactions between the two modes. The nonlinear response of the structure can be obtained by application of perturbation methods such as averaging on the two-mode model. Many candidate structures are synthesized that meet the desired modal frequency criterion and their nonlinear responses are compared.

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