There is strong experimental evidence for the existence of strange modes of failure of MEMS devices under shock. Such failures have not been explained with conventional models of MEMS. These failures are characterized by overlaps between moving microstructures and stationary electrodes, which cause electrical shorts. This work presents a model and simulation of MEMS devices under the combination of shock loads and electric actuation, which will shed the light on the influence of these forces on the pull-in instability. Our results indicate that the reported strange failures can be attributed to early dynamic pull-in instability. The results show that the combination of a shock load and an electric actuation makes the instability threshold much lower than the threshold predicted considering the effect of shock alone or electric actuation alone. Several results are presented showing the response of MEMS devices due to half-sine pulse, triangle pulse, and rectangular pulse shock loads of various durations and strengths. The effects of linear viscous damping and incompressible squeeze-film damping are also investigated.

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