Significant reduction in cost and time to market can be realized by implementing design-stage uncertainty analysis to predict whether a device will meet specified requirements. This paper demonstrates a generalized uncertainty analysis method appropriate for surface micromachined devices and uses a micro linear-displacement bistable mechanism as an example. Dimensional variations, joint clearances, material property uncertainty and friction are included as sources of error. Using matrix notation, the model consists of a system of implicit, nonlinear equations. The analysis is performed at multiple deflections to estimate uncertainty bands around the force-deflection curve of the mechanism. These results can then be used to predict the performance of the mechanism. Applying these techniques resulted in a functional first-time prototype of a bistable mechanism that can be actuated using a non-amplified thermal actuator.

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