Curved beams subjected to transverse force may exhibit a latching phenomena, namely remain in their buckled configuration under zero force such that an opposite force is required for their release. In this study, we investigate the latching in bistable electrostatically actuated prestressed curved beams. The analysis is based on a reduced order (RO) model resulting from the Galerkin decomposition with buckling modes of a straight beam as base functions. Criteria for the existence of latching are derived in terms of the beam geometric parameters and the axial load. Two conditions are formulated: A necessary criterion establishes the appearance of latching on the symmetric response curve and a sufficient condition which assures the existence of latching in the presence of bifurcations. A comparison between the model results and those obtained by numerical analysis shows good agreement up to a certain elevation. It is noted that as the latching is not affected by the nonlinear electrostatic load, the obtained criteria stand for all types of loading.

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