The two-dimensional unsteady behavior of a rarefied gas film under an oscillating micro-cantilever RF switch is presented. The microbeam, undergoing a parabolic deflection profile, is allowed to oscillate harmonically between its equilibrium position and the fixed substrate underneath for large beam-tip displacements. The gas film dynamics in terms of the flow field velocity and fluid forces exerted on the oscillating microbeam are discussed. The numerical technique used to model the rarefied gas flow is the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method where the Knudsen (Kn) number is greater than 0.01 (ie. non-continuum regime). Unlike previous work in literature, the beam undergoes large deflections, which requires implementation, in DSMC, of a more realistic molecule-beam reflection behavior based on the instantaneous beam’s position and velocity. The effects of inertia, both local acceleration (St) and convection term (Re), and compressibility (Ma) on the gas film dynamics are examined over ranges of oscillating frequencies, velocity amplitudes, and microbeam’s lengths.

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