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Printed in the UK

Equivalent circuit representation of

electromechanical transducers: I.

Lumped-parameter systems

Harrie A C Tilmans

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Departement ESAT-MICAS, Kardinaal Mercierlaan

94, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Received 7 December 1995, accepted for publication 28 December 1995

Abstract. Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers are examined

theoretically with special regard to their dynamic electromechanical behaviour and

equivalent circuits used to represent them. The circuits are developed starting from

basic electromechanical transduction principles and the electrical and mechanical

equations of equilibrium. Within the limits of the assumptions on boundary

conditions, the theory presented is exact with no restrictions other than linearity.

Elementary electrostatic, electromagnetic, and electrodynamic transducers are

used to illustrate the basic theory. Exemplary devices include electro-acoustic

receivers (e.g., a microphone) and actuators (e.g., a loudspeaker),

electromechanical lters, vibration sensors, devices employing feedback, and force

and displacement sensors. This paper forms part I of a set of two papers. Part II

extends the theory and deals with distributed-parameter systems.

1. Introduction

Electromechanical transducers are used to convert electrical

energy into mechanical (or acoustical) energy, and vice

versa. They are utilized for electrical actuation and sensing

of mechanical displacements and forces in a wide variety

of applications (see e.g. [13]). An illustrative example of

a sensing device is a microphone in which a sound pressure

is converted into an electrical signal. In a microphone, the

pressure acts upon a spring-supported mass, which usually

consists of a stretched diaphragm. The generated mass

(diaphragm) displacement is next converted into an electric

output signal by means of an electromechanical transducer.

In a loudspeaker, on the other hand, an electromechanical

transducer is used to convert the electrical output signal

of an audio amplier into a force acting on the speaker

diaphragm. This results in a displacement of the diaphragm,

thereby generating sound waves.

The behaviour of electromechanical transducers can

be described by the differential equation(s) of motion of

the structural member(s), by the characteristic equations

of the transducer element(s), and by a set of boundary

conditions. A very explanatory and quick way of gaining a

deeper insight into the dynamic behaviour of the transducer

is the equivalent circuit approach, in which both the

electrical and mechanical portions of the transducer (or

system) are represented by electrical equivalents. The

approach is based on the analogy that exists between

Present address: CP Clare Corporation, Overhaamlaan 40, B-3700

Tongeren, Belgium. e-mail: tilmans@imec.be

electric and mechanical systems [14]. In this method, the

transducer is no longer described by complex differential

equations and boundary conditions, but by a lumped-

element electrical circuit in which the elements are

physically representatives of the transducers properties

such as its mass, stiffness, capacitance, and damping.

The circuits implicitly contain, because of the way they

are constructed, all the equations governing the system

represented. To the extent that the original assumptions

are valid, the equivalent circuit can be considered an exact

representation of the electromechanical transducer. The

practicality of the equivalent circuit approach stems from

the eld of electricity where it is unthinkable that the

design and analysis of electrical systems is carried out

on the basis of Maxwells equations. The applications

of lumped-element circuits are numerous nowadays, and

their use is strongly justied by modern electric network

theory which provides us with powerful mathematical

techniques and network analysis programs, such as SPICE.

Equivalent circuits are now also implemented for analysing

electromechanical systems, where one of their strengths is

that they provide a single representation of devices that

operate in more than one energy domain. Noteworthy is

their proven indispensable value in the development of

piezoelectrically driven resonators for use as mechanical

sensors, timebases, and electromechanical lters [3, 5, 6],

and further also in the eld of electroacoustics [2].

Equivalent circuits are particularly useful for the analysis

of systems consisting of complex structural members and

coupled subsystems with several electrical and mechanical

0960-1317/96/010157+20$19.50 c 1996 IOP Publishing Ltd 157

H A C Tilmans

ports. Not only is the strict use of differential equations

very difcult for these cases, but this method also often

obscures the solution [3]. The equivalent circuit method

lends itself to a better visualization of the system, and, once

the basic circuit is constructed, it may be used in further

analyses to investigate the effects of connecting subsystems

or of making modications to the structure.

The purpose of this paper is to lay a mathematical

foundation for developing equivalent circuit representations

of lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers and

for interconnecting the obtained circuits to the outside

world and further to illustrate their applicability in real

systems. The paper forms part I of a set of two papers.

Whereas part I deals with lumped-parameter systems, in

part II [7] the theory is extended to include distributed-

parameter systems as well. Only the steady-state small-

signal dynamic frequency response is considered, but the

circuits are equally well suited to analyse the transient

behaviour of the transducer system. Large-signal non-

linear behaviour cannot be analysed in a straightforward

manner using equivalent circuits and will not be dealt with

here. Therefore, the transducers that are intrinsically non-

linear are linearized around a bias point. The circuits

are constructed starting from basic electromechanical

transduction principles and the electrical and mechanical

equations of equilibrium. The focus will be on systems

with a single electrical and a single mechanical port.

Simple examples of how to account for more than one

port are given. The basic principles of electromechanical

transduction are not a subject of this paper. For a

description of this topic reference is made to the literature

(see e.g., the books by Woodson and Melcher [8] or Neubert

[1]). The analysis is limited to reversible or bilateral

transducers, i.e., those which give rise to mechanical

motion from electrical energy or the other way round

[1]. These include electrostatic, electromagnetic, and

electrodynamic and evidently exclude thermal transducers.

Further, only rectilinear or translational mechanical systems

are considered, although rotary systems can be described in

a similar way. Acoustic systems are briey introduced and

are accounted for in the analysis. Finally it is pointed out

that generally applicable assumptions, such as negligible

fringing elds, small velocities compared with the velocity

of light, and perfect conductors (see e.g., [8]), are implicitly

understood.

2. Lumped-parameter electromechanical systems

2.1. General

The essential characteristic of lumped-parameter (or

discrete) systems is that the physical properties of

the system, such as mass, stiffness, capacitance, and

inductance, are concentrated or lumped into single physical

elements. Thus, elements representing mass are perfectly

rigid, and conversely elastic elements have no mass. This

idealization is similar to electric circuit theory where

inductors are considered to have no capacitance, capacitors

no inductance, and resistors are purely ohmic. As such,

a lumped-parameter electromechanical system consists of a

nite number of interconnected masses, springs, capacitors,

inductors, resistors, etc. Lumped-parameter modelling is

valid as long as the wavelength of the signal is greater than

all dimensions of the system [2, 8]. The dynamic behaviour

of these systems can be described by ordinary differential

equations with time t being the only independent variable.

The analysis described below will focus on lumped-

parameter systems with a single degree of freedom (SDOF)

in the mechanical domain, implying that they display a

single mechanical resonance [9]. The study of SDOF

systems is of importance since (i) many real systems display

a behaviour sufciently close to the behaviour of an SDOF

system, (ii) they improve the understanding of real systems,

whilst not having to deal with tedious mathematics, and

(iii) very often in a limited frequency range distributed-

parameter systems can be treated as SDOF systems, as will

be further claried in part II [7].

2.2. An example

An example of a real electromechanical system that behaves

sufciently like an SDOF lumped-parameter system is

shown in gure 1(a). The structure shown illustrates the

basic conguration of an electrostatic transducer that can

be used as a force gauge, e.g., a microphone [1, 2, 8]. It

consists of a doubly clamped beam (or diaphragm) with

a rigid mass at the centre. The mass is electroded on

one face which denes one plate of the capacitor used for

the electrostatic transduction. The other plate is formed

by a stationary surface which is in close proximity to the

mass. The mass is effectively supported by two adjacent

beam elements that can be approximated by lumped springs,

each with a constant k/2. The total spring constant is

therefore equal to k. The mass moves in response to a

pure mechanical force F

mt

and/or a force of electric origin

F

et

which is due to the attractive electrostatic force of

the electrodes (nomenclature is explained below). The

circuit comprising the decoupling capacitor C

d

and the

resistance R

L

, which may represent the the input resistance

of an amplier, is used to isolate the output terminals

from the bias voltage v

0

, and is not intended to affect

the dynamic behaviour of the system in normal operation.

If the voltage v

e

is taken as the output signal and with

driving frequency this means that R

L

C

d

1 and

R

L

R

0

[8]. Assuming that the total mass of the two beam

segments is small relative to the rigid mass and, further, if

only incremental signal variations around a biasing point

(further explained below) are considered, the system can

be modelled as the lumped-parameter SDOF system of

gure 1(b). Here, m represents the rigid mass, k is the total

stiffness of the sections of the beam supporting the mass,

c is a parameter representing viscous energy losses, and

C

p

denotes a (parasitic) parallel capacitance, e.g., due to

the stray capacitance of the interconnecting wires. Further

analysis of the transducer, including the development of

its equivalent circuit, will be presented in the following

subsections.

158

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Figure 1. An example of an electromechanical transducer

consisting of a beam with a rigid mass at the centre, which

is subjected to a force F

et

of electric origin and a pure

mechanical force F

mt

. (a) A schematic representation; (b) a

lumped-parameter incremental model. The transducer can

be used as a force (F

m

) or displacement (x

m

) sensor, with

output voltage v

e

or current i

e

.

Figure 2. A schematic representation of a two-port

electromechanical transducer.

2.3. Energy exchange

Exchange of energy of a transducer and the outside world is

achieved through ports (depicted as a pair of terminals).

This is illustrated in gure 2, showing a block diagram of

the often encountered linear electromechanical transducer

with a single electrical and a single mechanical port. A

port is dened by a pair of conjugate dynamic variables

called effort or intensive variable and ow. The power

exchange through the port is given by the product of

effort and ow. The ow is given by the time derivative

of the corresponding state or extensive variable. The

transducer depicted in gure 2 is a two-port energy storage

element, emphasizing the number of ports and the fact that

transducers store energy. Electrical ports are dened by the

{voltage (v), current (i)} pair, and mechanical ports by the

{force (F), velocity (u)} pair. Two-port storage elements

are completely characterized by an energy function of the

two independent state variables [8]. The state variables

associated with the mechanical and the electrical ports are

displacement x and the electric charge q, respectively.

In describing transducers that are partly operating in the

magnetic domain it proves convenient to dene a magnetic

port, characterized by the {current (i), ow of ux linkage

(

variable.

The purpose of this section is to derive equivalent

circuit representations of the two-port transducer in gure 2.

Although the transducer in gure 2 consists of only one

electrical and one mechanical port, the discussion below

can easily be generalized to any arbitrary number of ports

(see also [8]).

3. Elementary lumped-parameter transducers

3.1. Basic congurations

Four examples of elementary electromechanical lumped-

parameter transducers are shown in gure 3. Their op-

eration is respectively based on electrostatic (with out-of-

plane motion), electrostatic (with in-plane motion), elec-

tromagnetic, and electrodynamic transduction principles,

each of which is extensively described in the literature

(see e.g., [1, 2, 8, 10]). The transducer of gure 3(a) is

termed a transverse electrostatic transducer, emphasizing

that the plates move transverse or perpendicular to each

other, as opposed to the parallel electrostatic transducer of

gure 3(b) in which the plate surfaces stay parallel dur-

ing motion. Apart from the electrodynamic transducer, the

transducers shown all display non-linear behaviour. For

instance the electrostatic force of the transducers in g-

ure 3(a) and (b) shows a quadratic dependence on the

charge or the voltage (see appendix A). It is evident that

linear transducers are mathematically more tractable, but,

furthermore, linear transducers are also of great practical

importance. For instance, a condenser microphone is pur-

posely operated to behave as a linear device, since nonlin-

ear effects cause distortion and loss of delity [2]. Linear

behaviour is achieved for incremental or small-signal vari-

ations around bias or equilibrium levels. In fact, if only the

rst two terms in a Taylor series expansion about a static

equilibrium point are included, the total signal, which is in-

dicated with a subscript t , can be written as the sum of an

equilibrium signal, which is indicated with a subscript 0,

and the incremental signal, which is indicated without any

subscript, e.g., x

t

(t ) = x

0

+x(t ). Transducers can be biased

in several ways. For instance, an electrostatic transducer

can be electrically biased by applying a d.c. bias voltage

v

0

, or by introducing a bias charge q

0

, e.g., by means of an

electret. The electromagnetic transducer can be biased by

applying a bias current i

0

in the transducer coil or by plac-

ing a permanent magnet in the magnetic circuit. The type

of biasing will not change the analysis of the system signif-

icantly (see e.g., the book by Rossi [2]). Therefore, without

loss of generality, in this paper the analyses are limited to

voltage biasing for the electrostatic transducer and current

biasing for the electromagnetic transducer. These biasing

schemes are also most often employed in practice. Biasing

of the electrodynamic transducer is always done with a per-

manent magnet. It is pointed out that the electrodynamic

transducer is inherently linear and biasing is here imple-

mented to attain any electromechanical transduction at all.

It is further assumed that the incremental signals are sinu-

soidal with driving frequency , e.g., x(t ) = x exp(it ),

where x denotes a phasor [11]. Note that this is not a

real limitation, since for a linear system the steady-state

response to an arbitrary signal can be synthesized from the

response to sinusoidal driving signals using the techniques

159

H A C Tilmans

Figure 3. Schematic representations of elementary

electromechanical transducers: (a) parallel plate or

transverse electrostatic transducer, (b) in-plane or parallel

electrostatic transducer, (c) electromagnetic transducer,

and (d) electrodynamic (or moving-coil) transducer.

of Fourier transforms and Fourier series [11]. Also, if no

explicit time dependence is included for the incremental

signals, phasors are meant in this paper.

The transducers enclosed by the dashed box in gure 3

are assumed conservative or lossless. This means that

energy put into the system by the electric and mechanical

ports is stored and can be recovered completely through the

ports. All purely electrical elements (e.g., inductors and

capacitors not involved in the transduction and furthermore

all resistors) and mechanical elements (all masses, springs,

and dampers) are connected externally to the electric

and mechanical terminals, respectively. At this point

it is already noted that systems as dened above are

mechanically unstable. For instance, a slight displacement

Figure 4. A transverse electrostatic transducer completed

with a spring k connected to the mechanical port for

stabilization purposes.

of the movable plate from the equilibrium position would

cause the plates to collapse, or the movable plate would

disappear into innity (see also appendix A). Stability can

be attained by introducing an external mechanical spring k

and by making this spring an integral part of the transducer

as illustrated in gure 4. This will be further elucidated in

the following.

3.2. Characteristic equations

The characteristic equations of an electromechanical

transducer describe the linear relations that exist between

(dynamic) small-signal variations of the port variables

around the bias point. The equations of the two-port

electromechanical transducers of gure 3 are conveniently

represented with matrix algebra. Two variables are chosen

as the independent variable set, and the remaining two

variables form the dependent set. This implies six different

possible ways of formulating the characteristic equations

[11]. For instance, the constitutive equations, dened by

the matrix B, express the effort variables as a function

of the state variables. The transfer matrix T on the other

hand relates the effort-ow variables at the electrical port

directly to those at the mechanical port. It is beyond the

scope of this paper to go into too much detail regarding the

analytical development of the characteristic equations, but

in order to illustrate the underlying theory, in appendix A

a derivation is given of the constitutive equations of the

transverse electrostatic transducer of gure 3(a). For details

regarding the other transducers, reference is made to the

literature (see e.g., [1, 2, 8]). Table 1 summarizes the results

for the four types of transducer of gure 3. In each case,

a mechanical spring k is included to attain mechanical

stability in a similar way as illustrated in gure 4 for

the electrostatic transducer. More detailed expressions for

the static components (C

0

and L

0

) and the transduction

factors ( and ) are given in table 2. The bias force

F

0

affects the bias displacement, but usually F

0

is taken

to be equal to zero. The characteristic matrices for the

transducers without the spring k, as depicted in gure 3, can

easily be obtained from the matrices in table 1 by taking

k = 0. It is noted that the efforts are dened as the loads

which are applied externally to the transducer system via

the appropriate ports, and not as the loads exerted by the

transducer on the surroundings via the ports.

Note the similarity between the corresponding matrices

of the transducers operating in the electric and the magnetic

160

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Table 1. Constitutive and transfer equations of the lumped-parameter transducers shown in gure 3, completed with a

stabilization spring k at the mechanical port (as illustrated by gure 4). The matrix equations describe the relations between

the phasor quantities of the sinusoidal signals. The meaning of the symbols is explained in appendix B and in table 2.

Transducer State Efforts Flows

type q

1

, q

2

e

1

, e

2

f

1

, f

2

_

e

1

e

2

_

= B

_

q

1

q

2

_ _

e

1

f

1

_

= T

_

e

2

f

2

_

Electrostatic

(transverse, q(t ), x(t ) v(t ), F(t ) i (t ) = q(t ), x(t )

_

1

C

0

C

0

C

0

k

_

_

1

1

i

(k

2

C

0

)

i C

0

kC

0

_

gure 3(a))

Electrostatic

(parallel, q(t ), x(t ) v(t ), F(t ) i (t ) = q(t ), x(t )

_

1

C

0

C

0

C

0

k +

2

C

0

_

_

1

k

i

i C

0

_

C

0

+

2

k

_

_

gure 3(b))

Electromagnetic (t ), x(t ) i (t ), F(t )

(t ) = v(t ), x(t )

_

1

L

0

L

0

L

0

k

_

_

1

1

i

_

k

2

L

0

_

i L

0

kL

0

_

(gure 3(c))

Electrodynamic (t ), x(t ) i (t ), F(t )

(t ) = v(t ), x(t )

_

1

L

0

L

0

L

0

k +

2

L

0

_

_

1

k

i

i L

0

_

L

0

+

2

k

_

_

(gure 3(d))

Table 2. Parameters used in table 1, expressed in terms of the dimensional parameters, the bias conditions, and physical

constants.

Transduction factors

[N V

1

= A (m s

1

)

1

] and Static ( 0)

Tranducer type Static components [N A

1

= V (m s

1

]

1

) coupling factor

Electrostatic C

0

q

0

v

0

=

0

Ae

d+x

0

=

q

0

d+x

0

=

0

Aev

0

(d+x

0

)

2

_

2

C

0

k

(transverse, gure 3(a))

Electrostatic C

q

0

v

0

=

0

(l

0

x

0

)h

d

=

q

0

l

0

x

0

=

0

hv

0

d

_

1

1+

C

0

k

2

(parallel, gure 3(b))

Electromagnetic L

0

0

i

0

=

N

2

0

Ae

d+x

0

=

0

d+x

0

=

N

2

0

Aei

0

(d+x

0

)

_

2

L

0

k

(gure 3(c))

Electrodynamic L

0

= L

s

= coil seriesconductance = B

0

l

_

1

1+

L

0

k

2

(gure 3(d))

domain. In fact the electromagnetic transducer and the

transverse electrostatic transducer are dual to each other

with respect to the electric domain. The same can

be said for the parallel electrostatic transducer and the

electrodynamic transducer. Dual systems are described by

equations of the same form, but in which the coefcients

(e.g., capacitance and inductance) and effort-ow variables

(e.g. voltage and current) are interchanged. The observed

electrical duality is physically described by Amp` eres

circuital law and Faradays law of magnetic induction,

conveniently expressed as

_

v

i

_

=

_

0 N

1/N 0

_ _

m.m.f.

_

=

_

0 1

1 0

_ _

i

_

or :

_

i

_

=

_

0 1

1 0

_ _

v

i

_

(1)

where m.m.f. denotes the magnetomotive force,

is the

magnetic ux ow in the magnetic circuit, and N is given

by the number of active turns of the transducer coil coupled

with the magnetic eld of the transducers in gure 3(c) and

(d). The above matrix equation clearly shows that the effort

variable in the electric domain becomes the ow variable

in the magnetic domain, and vice versa.

The coupling factor , also indicated in table 2, is

an important characteristic of electromechanical transducers

as it provides a measure for the electromechanical energy

conversion which takes place in the lossless transducer

[6, 10, 12]. For a two-port storage element the coupling

factor can be found from the constitutive matrix B

as the following ratio: (coefcients product of the

interaction terms)/(coefcients product of the principal

(diagonal) terms). A coupling factor of zero means no

electromechanical interaction. It can be shown that a

stable equilibrium exists for 0 < < 1 [10, 12]. Typical

values for are in between 0.05 and 0.25. Furthermore,

the coupling factor provides an elegant way to relate the

parameter values, e.g., the spring constant, measured at one

of the ports to the conditions, e.g., v = 0, at the other port.

This will be further explained in the next subsection.

161

H A C Tilmans

Table 3. Direct electromechanical analogies for lumped

translational systems [1, 2].

Mechanical quantity Electrical quantity

Force F Voltage v

Velocity u = x Current i = q

Displacement x Charge q

Momentum p Magnetic ux linkage

Mass m Inductance L

Compliance 1/k

a

Capacitance C

Viscous resistance c Resistance R

a

k represents the spring constant.

3.3. Equivalent circuit representations

3.3.1. Analogies. The development of equivalent

circuit representations is based on the analogy in the

mathemtical descriptions that exists between electric and

mechanical (including acoustical) phenomena [1, 2, 11].

The analogies are a result of the formal similarities of

the integrodifferential equations governing the behaviour of

electric and mechanical systems. For instance, Newtons

second law of motion relating the force F and velocity

u for a rigid mass m, F = mdu/dt = md

2

x/dt

2

, is

mathematically analogous to the constitutive equation of

an electric inductor, v = Ldi/dt = Ld

2

q/dt

2

. In this

analogy, the force F plays the same role as the voltage

v, the velocity u as the current i, and the displacement

x as the charge q. The mass m in mechanical systems

corresponds to the inductance L in electrical circuits. The

foregoing examples illustrate the so-called direct analogy,

summarized in table 3. It is pointed out that equivalent

systems that are constructed based on this type of analogy

display the duality property in the sense that across

or between variables are equated to through variables,

and, conversely, through variables are equated to across

variables. This means that force (a through variable) is

analogous to voltage (an across variable), and velocity (an

across variable) to current (a through variable). Hence, this

implies that the network topologies of the mechanical and

electrical circuits are not the same. A series connection in

the mechanical circuit becomes a parallel arrangement in

the equivalent electrical circuit, and vice versa. This will be

further elucidated by the examples presented in section 5.

The direct analogy was in fact implicitly understood in

the foregoing. The governing equations, however, can also

be written in a form that suggests an analogy between the

force and the current, between the velocity and the voltage,

between the mass and the capacitance, etc. This analogy

is called the inverse or mobility-type analogy (see e.g. [1]).

In order to avoid any confusion in this paper no further

reference will be made to this latter form of analogy.

3.3.2. Equivalent networks. The construction of the

equivalent networks starts with the transfer matrices given

in the last column of table 1. This becomes clear after the

matrices are split into their constituent transfer matrices.

For instance, the transfer matrix of the electrostatic

transducer of gure 4 can be split as follows:

_

v

i

_

=

_

1

1

i

(k k

)

iC0

kC0

_ _

F

u

_

=

_

1 0

iC

0

1

_ _

1/ 0

0

_ _

1

1

i

(k k

)

0 1

_ _

F

u

_

(2)

where k

=

2

/C

0

(see also table 4). In the matrix

equation above, the centre matrix represents the transducer,

anked by the matrices of the electrical admittance and the

mechanical impedance. Each of the constituent transfer

matrices can be represented by an equivalent network. The

overal equivalent network consists of a cascade connection

of these networks and is shown in gure 5(a). It can

easily be shown that the network in gure 5(a) forms an

exact representation of the transfer matrix equation (2).

According to the aforementioned analogy a spring is

represented by a capacitor. The impedance (force/velocity)

of the spring k in gure 5(a) therefore is equal to k/i.

The electromechanical coupling is modelled through an

ideal electromechanical transformer with a transformer ratio

given by , called the transduction factor, which was

introduced in tables 1 and 2. The transformer relations,

are given by F

= v

and i

= u

, conform to

the sign conventions indicated in gure 5(a). Note the

existence of a spring with a negative constant k

2

/C

0

=

0

A

e

v

2

0

/(d + x

0

)

3

. The spring is a result

of the electromechanical coupling and apparently leads to

a lowering of the overal dynamic spring constant. This

is easily seen by combining the two springs into a single

spring with constant k

= k k

= k(1

2

) (see also

table 4). As long as k

condition < 1, the system is mechanically stable [10, 12].

Matrix algebra explains that there does not exist one

unique way of decomposing a 2 2 matrix into three

consituent 2 2 matrices. Equation (2) merely illustrates

one way of decomposing the matrix. Furthermore,

each decomposition corresponds to its own unique circuit

representation. It can easily be shown that the four

circuits shown in gure 5 all form equivalent network

representations of the same transducer as shown in gure 4.

The choice of which circuit to use is conveniently dictated

by the application. For instance, the circuit of gure 5(b) is

most suited to determine the value of the free capacitor (i.e.,

for F = 0), whereas the circuit of gure 5(a) is preferred

to determine the clamped capacitance (i.e., for u = 0). A

quick glance at the circuit diagrams reveals that the latter

is equal to the usual capacitance C

0

, whereas the former

is given by C

0

= C

0

/(1

2

). A special note is needed

for the diagram shown in gure 5(d). In the three other

diagrams the electric and mechanical domains are clearly

separated by a transformer. A dimensional test will conrm

this. For the last diagram, however, such a test will fail.

The domain separation has disappeared and the circuit only

serves an algebraic purpose.

In order to nd an equivalent network representation of

the electromagnetic and the electrodynamic transducer, it is

necessary to combine (1), representing the link between the

electric and magnetic domain, with the transfer matrices as

presented in table 1. For instance, for the electromagnetic

162

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Table 4. Circuit elements introduced as a result of electromechanical coupling. The elements are used in the equivalent

circuits of gures 58. Expressions for , , C

0

, and L

0

in terms of the physical parameters can be found in table 2.

Transducer type C

0

, L

0

C

0

, L

0

k

Electrostatic C

0

=

C

0

1

2

= C

0

+ C

0

C

0

=

2

1

2

C

0

=

1

1

2

2

k

k

= k(1

2

) = k k

2

k =

2

C

0

(transverse, gure 5)

Electrostatic C

0

=

C

0

1

2

= C

0

+ C

0

C

0

=

2

1

2

C

0

=

2

k

k

=

k

1

2

= k + k

2

1

2

k =

2

C

0

(parallel, gure 6)

Electromagnetic L

0

=

L

0

1

2

= L

0

+ L

0

L

0

=

2

1

2

L

0

=

1

1

2

2

k

k

= k(1

2

) = k k

2

k =

2

L

0

(gure 7)

Electrodynamic L

0

=

L

0

1

2

= L

0

+ L

0

L

0

=

2

1

2

L

0

=

1

1

2

2

k

k

=

k

1

2

= k + k

2

1

2

k =

2

L

0

(gure 8)

Figure 5. Possible equivalent circuit representations of the transverse electrostatic transducer with a single electric port and

a single mechanical port as depicted in gure 4. The meaning of the symbols is explained in tables 2 and 4. The

transformers model the electromechanical coupling. The transformer relations given by F

= v

and i

= u

conform to the

sign conventions given in (a).

transducer (including a spring k), the decomposition can be

expressed as

_

v

i

_

=

_

0 1

1 0

_ _

1 0

iL

0

1

_ _

1/ 0

0

_

_

1

1

i

(k k

)

0 1

_ _

F

u

_

(3)

where k

=

2

/L

0

(see also table 4). The rst constituent

matrix represents (1) and can be modelled using an ideal

gyrator with gyrator resistance equal to unity. As a result

of the aforementioned duality (see subsection 3.2), the

equivalent circuit representing the cascade of the remaining

three matrices can easily be derived from the circuit in

gure 5(a). The overall equivalent circuit is obtained

by placing the gyrator in cascade with this circuit. The

result is shown in gure 6(a). It can easily be shown that

the circuits shown in gure 6(b)(d) also form equivalent

circuits of the same electromagnetic transducer. In the

latter two representations the gyrator and the transformer

are combined into a single gyrator, dened by the following

relations: F

= i

and v

= u

conventions indicated in gure 6(c). The circuit parameters

indicated with a are claried in table 4.

A similar approach can be used to construct the

equivalent circuits for the parallel electrostatic and the

electrodynamic transducer. The results are shown in

gures 7 and 8, respectively. The two transducers are

clearly dual to each other. Also note the small, but

important, differences between the electromagnetic and the

electrodynamic transducer on the one hand, and between

the transverse and the parallel electrostatic transducer

on the other hand. For instance, the equivalent circuit

representation of the electrodynamic transducer shown in

gure 8(a) can be obtained from the equivalent circuit of

the electromagnetic transducer of gure 6(c) by replacing

the compliance 1/k

by a compliance 1/k.

The parameters indicated with a are a result of

the electromechanical coupling. The circuit parameters

indicated without a are the usually observed parameters,

i.e., in the absence of electromechanical coupling ( = 0).

For zero coupling, there will be only one spring constant k,

163

H A C Tilmans

Figure 6. Possible equivalent circuit representations of the electromagnetic transducer of gure 3(c) completed with an

external spring k connnected to the mechanical node (similar to gure 4). The meaning of the symbols is explained in

tables 2 and 4. The gyrator relations given by F

= i

and v

= u

Figure 7. Possible equivalent circuit representations of the parallel electrostatic transducer of gure 3(b) completed with an

external spring k connnected to the mechanical node (similar to gure 4). The meaning of the symbols is explained in

tables 2 and 4. The transformers model the electromechanical coupling. The transformer relations are given by F

= v

and

i

= u

Figure 8. Possible equivalent circuit representations of the electrodynamic transducer of gure 3(d) completed with an

external spring k connnected to the mechanical node (similar to gure 4). The meaning of the symbols is explained in

tables 2 and 4. The gyrators model the electromechanical coupling. The gyrator relations are given by F

= i

and

v

= u

one capacitor C

0

, and one inductor L

0

. Coupling causes

a dependence of the properties in one domain on the

conditions in the other domain. For instance, the stiffness

k

mechanical stiffness if the electrical port is short-circuited,

i.e., v = 0, whereas the stiffness k is measured for open-

circuit conditions (i = 0). A summary of the results is

given in table 4.

4. Coupling of the transducers to the outside

world

As indicated in subsection 2.3, the exchange of energy of

the transducer and the outside world is done through ports.

External loads or sources can be connected to either one

of the ports for instance as illustrated by the system of

gure 1. Laws of equilibrium link the transducers via their

port relations (e.g., the transfer matrices) to the external

elements. Only linearly operating systems are considered,

164

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

meaning that the relation between the incremental variables

can be described by linear (differential) equations with

constant coefcients. The equilibrium conditions at the

electrical site are governed by Kirchhoffs voltage (KVL)

and current (KCL) laws. At the mechanical site the

governing laws are Newtons second law of motion or,

more appropriately dAlemberts principle, expressed as

F

i

= 0, and the geometric compatibility or the continuity

of space, formulated as u

i

= 0 [8]. The latter

condition is seldom used for the analysis of mechanical

systems, but must at all times be satised. Note that

the latter two conditions are directly obtained by invoking

Kirchhoffs laws to the mechanical part in the equivalent

circuit representation, thereby illustrating once more the

analogy between electric and mechanical systems. As a

matter of fact, this mathematical correspondence of laws

is an essential requirement for using equivalent circuit

representations for the analysis of mechanical systems.

The foregoing forms the fundamental basis for devel-

oping equivalent circuits for electromechanical transducers

with arbitrary electric and mechanical loads and/or sources.

As an illustration, consider the system shown in gure 1(a)

and its lumped-parameter model of gure 1(b). The elec-

trical part is in fact already represented by an equivalent

network and therefore needs no further explanation. For

the mechanical part the conditions may be derived as fol-

lows. Applying dAlemberts principle to the mass m leads

to

F

m

(t ) F

e

(t ) kx(t ) c x(t ) m x(t ) = 0

F

m

F

e

k

i

u cu imu = 0 (4)

where the second of the above equations is given in terms

of the phasors of the respective quantities. Recalling that

dAlemberts principle is the electromechanical analogue

of KVL, it is easy to show that the circuit shown in

gure 9 denes a possible equivalent circuit of the system

in gure 1. The equivalent circuit of gure 5(a) (enclosed

by the dashed box in gure 9) is chosen to represent

the transducer (plus stabilization spring k), because of its

direct physical signicance. Note, however, that the circuit

enclosed by the box can be replaced by any of the other

circuits presented in gure 5. This may appear a little

awkward. For instance if the circuit of gure 5(b) is

used, the velocity through the compliance (capacitor) 1/k

as predicted by the equivalent circuit is not the same as

the velocity of the mechanical resistance c and the mass

(inductor) m. In practice however (see gure 1(b)) the

velocities through the aforementioned components are the

same. The answer to this apparent paradox is simple: the

compliance 1/k in the equivalent circuit is not the same

as the compliance 1/k in gure 1(b). They only happen

to be numerically equal. The internal conguration of the

circuit in gure 5(b) is reorganized at the expense of giving

up the practical meaning. It is evident that the physical

link is lost even further for the circuit in gure 5(d).

This emphasizes once more that the equivalent circuits

very often only serve an algebraic purpose. Based on the

foregoing, it is concluded that the circuit representations of

gures 5(a), 6(c), 7(a) and 8(a) have a true physical link,

thus minimizing the chance for misinterpretation as much

as possible. It is for this reason that emphasis will be on

these circuit representations while discussing the examples

presented in section 5.

5. Examples of lumped-parameter

electromechanical systems

5.1. Force and displacement transducers (microphone)

The basic operating principles and conguration of an

electrostatic force or displacement transducer have already

been presented in subsection 2.2. A schematic diagram

is shown in gure 1. In operation, the force F

m

(t ) to be

measured (dened as positive in the positive x direction) is

exerted on the mass, or the mass is displaced by an amount

x

m

(t ) in the case where the displacement must be measured.

As explained before a motion of the mass is converted

into an electrical signal, e.g., a current, which ows in

part through the resistors R

0

and R

L

, thereby producing

an output voltage v

e

(t ). This voltage is a measure for

the applied force or displacement. Using the equivalent

circuit shown in gure 9, extended with the appropriate

mechanical sources (F

m

or x

m

) which have to be connected

to the mechanical terminals, the steady-state analysis for

sinusoidal signal operation becomes very straightforward.

The transfer function describing the relation between the

input variable and the output voltage is easily obtained from

the equivalent circuit. For the force transducer this results

in

v

e

F

m

=

iR

p

(k

+ic

2

m)(1 +iR

p

(C

0

+C

p

)) +iR

p

2

(5)

and for the displacement transducer

v

e

x

m

=

iR

p

1 +iR

p

(C

0

+C

p

)

=

v

0

d +x

0

C

0

C

0

+C

p

iR

p

(C

0

+C

p

)

1 +iR

p

(C

0

+C

p

)

(6)

where R

p

R

0

/R

L

. It is noted that the current i

e

can

also be taken as the output signal. The respective transfer

functions for this case are easily obtained from the above

equations by noting that i

e

= v

e

/R

L

.

5.1.1. The condenser microphone. If the applied force

is the result of an acoustic pressure p

m

(t ) the transducer can

be used as an electrostatic or condenser microphone. For

instance, consider the condenser microphone as depicted

in gure 10(a). The electric terminals are biased with

a voltage v

0

and a bias resistor R

0

in the same way

as shown in gure 1(a.) The input signal is the sound

generator pressure p

g

(t ) which is applied to a movable

rigid front plate with area A and mass m. The plate

is mounted on a peripheral spring with an equivalent

constant k. The pressure produces a small signal voltage

v

out

(t ) at the electric terminals that can be connected to

a (pre-)amplier (not shown). A Th evenin equivalent

circuit [11] of the transducer is shown in gure 10(b).

The Th evenin equivalent circuit is very simple and its

elements can be determined (experimentally) as follows.

165

H A C Tilmans

Figure 9. An equivalent circuit representation of the electromechanical transducer system shown in gure 1. The circuit

enclosed by the dashed box represents the transducer of gure 4 (see also gure 5(a)).

Figure 10. The condenser microphone. (a) A schematic diagram; (b) the incremental signal Th evenin equivalent circuit; (c)

a detailed equivalent circuit illustrating the interaction between the variables in the three signal domains of interest, i.e.,

electric, mechanical, and acoustic.

The Th evein voltage v

T h

is given by the open-circuit

voltage and the Th evenin impedance Z

T h

is the impedance

seen at the electric terminals if all the independent

sources, here only the pressure generator, are set to

zero. However, the circuit is not at all convenient for

attaining a better understanding of, and for analysing and

optimizing, the microphone behaviour, as the shape of the

frequency response and the microphones sensitivity are

determined by the bias conditions, geometrical parameters,

and damping and dynamic characteristics of the specic

microphone structure, including the electrical, mechanical,

and acoustical parts. Damping for instance is due to the

air-streaming resistance of the air gap, and can be strongly

reduced by introducing acoustic holes in the backplate.

Also, a narrow gap is of importance to attain a high

sensitivity. The stray capacitance C

p

between the metal

case (which is electrically connected to the front plate)

and the back plate results in a capacitive attenuation of

the transducer signal and thus a lowering of the sensitivity

[2]. None of these individual components or others are

reected in the Th evenin equivalent circuit. Therefore, a

more detailed equivalent circuit similar to the one shown

in gure 9 is required. For this purpose, the acoustic

signal domain must be included. The effort, ow, and state

variables in the acoustic domain are respectively given by

the acoustic pressure p

a

(N m

2

), the volume velocity

(m

3

s

1

), and the volume displacement (m

3

) [2]. It can

be shown [2] that, for a system in equilibrium, equality

of the acoustic pressures p

i

at either side of an acoustic

junction applies, mathematically formulated as p

i

= 0.

Further, the continuity law states that for the incident

volume velocities

i

at a junction the following relation

applies:

i

= 0 [2]. At this point it is evident that

the latter two relations form the analogies to KVL and

KCL, respectively. In the example discussed here, the

mechanical and the acoustic domain are linked via the

166

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

movable front plate and are related as follows: F

m

= Ap

a

and u

m

= (1/A)

plate. In an equivalent circuit this relation is represented by

a mechano-acoustical transformer with ratio A. Note that

the effective plate area A

e

for the electrostatic transduction

is reduced compared with A by an amount equal to the

total area of the acoustic holes. The resulting equivalent

circuit, reecting the inuence of all three signal domains,

is shown in gure 10(c). The radiation impedance, due to

the radiation of sound back into the surrounding medium, is

modelled as a series combination of a radiation resistance

R

ar

(representing frictional forces) and a radiation mass

(inductance) m

ar

(representing the mass of the air close to

the front plate that is vibrating in phase with the plate). The

series combination of the acoustic resistance R

ag

and the

acoustic mass m

ag

represents the air gap and the acoustic

holes, and C

bc

represents the acoustic compliance of the

back chamber. Other elements that are often encountered

in the acoustical part of a microphone but that have not

been indicated in gure 10(a,c) are for instance the pressure

equilization holes or the effects of a exible backplate

[2, 13]. Finally, it is pointed out that by replacing the

equivalent circuit of the electrostatic transducer (enclosed

by the dashed box) in gure 10(c) by another appropriate

transducer circuit, e.g., any of the circuits in gures 6

8, the equivalent circuit of any other type of microphone,

e.g., an electrodynamic or an electromagnetic microphone,

is readily obtained.

It is evident at this point that the overall microphone

behaviour is determined by a complex interplay between

the elements in the different signal domains. With respect

to this it goes without saying that the equivalent circuit is

of great help in analysing the microphone behaviour. It

is beyond the scope of this paper to go into more detail

regarding the design and operation of microphones. For

this, reference is made to the literature (see e.g., [2, 13]).

5.2. Electromechanical and electroacoustical actuators

In an electromechanical actuator, electrical energy is

converted into mechanical energy. Actuators are for

instance used in force-balanced transducers [1] (see also

subsection 5.6), or as an acoustic transducer or loudspeaker,

in which the output signal consists of pressure sound waves

in air [2]. As an example, consider the equivalent circuit

representation of an electrodynamic loudspeaker as shown

in gure 11. To a rst approximation, the output of an

audio amplier behaves like a voltage source v

g

with an

internal impedance Z

g

. The resistor R

s

represents the series

resistance of the moving coil with self-inductance L

0

. The

mechanical part consists of the mass m of the moving

parts (e.g., coil and diaphragm), the compliance 1/k of

the coil suspension, and the mechanical loss resistance

c. A transformer with ratio 1/A, where A corresponds

to the (projected) area of the vibrating diaphragm of the

speaker, represents the mechano-acoustical coupling. The

equivalent acoustic impedance Z

a

represents the different

acoustic elements, e.g., the radiation impedance and the

acoustic compliance of the speaker box [2]. Similar to

the equivalent circuit for the microphone of gure 10,

the circuit in gure 11 can be reduced to its Th evenin

equivalent, consisting of a Th evenin acoustic pressure

source p

T h

and a Th evenin acoustic impedance Z

T h

in

series. Furthermore, by substituting any of the circuits

of gure 5 for the circuit enclosed by the dashed box

in gure 11, the equivalent circuit representation of an

electrostatic loudspeaker is obtained.

5.3. In-plane parallel microresonators using

comb-shaped driving elements

In-plane parallel microresonators using electrostatic inter-

digitated or comb structures for excitation and detection

of the vibrational motion are used as transducing elements

in a wide variety of applications (see e.g. [14]). Lumped-

parameter modelling is particularly adequate for these kinds

of system. Figure 12(a) shows the layout of a basic con-

guration of an in-plane resonator consisting of a movable

plate of mass m, a folded beam suspension of stiffness k,

and two comb structures, according to Tang et al [14]. The

structure behaves like an SDOF system displaying a sin-

gle mechanical resonance. The comb structures serve as

parallel electrostatic transducers of the type shown in g-

ure 3(b). The movable plate is biased with a voltage v

0

as

indicated. The only difference between the basic parallel

transducer in gure 3(b) and the combs is the number of

active gaps. Each of the combs in gure 12(a) consists

of 16 active gaps or in other words of 16 basic parallel

transducers. The system also illustrates the implementa-

tion of two electrical ports (and a single mechanical port).

Ignoring the mass of the spring suspension, assuming vis-

cous damping with resistance c, and in the absence of an

external mechanical force F

m

, leads to the equivalent cir-

cuit shown in gure 12(b). The numerical subscripts refer

to comb 1 or comb 2. For a symmetric design, x

0

= 0,

C

01

= C

02

= 2nC

0

, and

1

=

2

= 2n, where n denotes

the number of teeth of the movable plate for a single comb

(equal to eight for the design in gure 11), and C

0

and

are given in table 2.

Using the equivalent circuit it becomes very straight-

forward to determine the frequency response of the system.

For instance, the transadmittance Y(i) = i

2

/v

1

for a

short-circuited output (v

2

= 0) is easily derived, yielding

Y(i) =

i

2

v

1

v2=0

=

1

k

i

1

2

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

(7)

where

0

=

k/m and Q = m

0

/c denote the undamped

resonant frequency and quality factor of the spring

dampermass system, respectively. The above given

transadmittance has the standard second-order form in i

of a series-resonant circuit [10]. For high Q it can be

used for bandpass ltering, whereby the bandwidth BW

is determined by the mechanical quality factor Q of the

resonator: BW =

0

/Q, and whereby

0

establishes the

centre frequency of the lter. Typical amplitude response

plots are shown in gure 12(c).

167

H A C Tilmans

Figure 11. An equivalent circuit representation of an electrodynamic (moving-coil) loudspeaker. The acoustic power is

transmitted into an acoustic impedance Z

a

; details of Z

a

depend on the specic speaker construction and can be found in [2].

Figure 12. A schematic diagram of an electrostatic comb-driven micromechanical resonator according to Tang et al [14]. (a)

A typical layout of a linear resonant plate. (b) An equivalent circuit representation for a zero externally applied mechanical

force, F

m

= 0. The system behaves like an electrical two-port network. (c) Typical amplitude response plots of the

transadmittance i

2

/v

1

evaluated for a short-circuited output (v

2

= 0), as expressed by (7).

5.4. Electromechanical series lters employing in-plane

parallel microresonators

Electromechanical lters are used for signal processing

in for instance telecommunication systems which require

narrow bandwidth (high Q), low loss, good signal-to-

noise ratio, and stable temperature and aging characteristics

[3]. Lin et al [15] have recently described a new

class of passive bandpass electromechanical lters that

employ laterally driven in-plane resonators (of the type

that were introduced in the previous subsection), linked

through coupling springs. The passband characteristics

168

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Figure 13. (a) A schematic diagram of a series two-resonator electromechanical lter using electrostatic comb-driven

micromechanical resonators, according to Lin et al [15]. (b) An equivalent circuit representation. C

b

represents a parasitic

feedthrough capacitor and/or an intentionally added bridging capacitor. (c) Typical amplitude response plots of the

transadmittance i

2

/v

1

evaluated for a short-circuited output (v

2

= 0) and for different values of the coupling spring, as

expressed by (8).

(centre frequency, shape, and bandwidth) are determined

by the specic design of the individual lter components.

Very important in this respect are also the number of

resonators and coupling springs used [3, 15]. In fact, a

lter conguration consisting of a single resonator and no

coupling springs has already been described in the previous

subsection. A typical response is given by (7) and is

graphically displayed in gure 12(c). The graph clearly

shows that the passband characteristics are far from being

the ideal square shape. Using several resonators that are

linked through coupling springs is a well known method

for obtaining better passband characteristics [3].

An example of a so-called series two-resonator

lter, with a square truss coupling spring, is shown in

gure 13(a). The lter consists of two spring-suspended

masses m

1

and m

2

that are coupled through a relatively

weak coupling spring k

c

. Electromechanical coupling to

each of the masses is accomplished using comb-shaped

electrostatic transducer elements. The system denes an

electrical two-port network, that behaves like an electrical

bandpass lter. The mechanical part of the lter behaves

like a two-degrees-of-freedom lumped-parameter system,

having two (closely separated) mode frequencies that are

determined by the masses m

1

and m

2

and by the three

169

H A C Tilmans

springs k

1

, k

2

, and k

c

. Usually, the structure is designed

such that k

1

= k

2

= k and m

1

= m

2

= m. The

two mode frequencies are then given by

(k/m) and

[(k + 2k

c

)/m]. An equivalent circuit representation of

the lter is shown in gure 13(b). The transduction factors

and the static capacitors of the transducer elements are the

same as explained in section 5.3. Damping is represented

by the viscous resistors c

1

and c

2

, each one associated

with one of the resonators. Note that the coupling spring

experiences a displacement (and therefore a velocity) that

is given by the difference in displacements (velocities)

of the two masses. This example also illustrates the

duality that exists between the equivalent circuit diagram

of gure 13(b) and the mechanical diagram of gure 13(a)

(see also subsection 3.3). For instance the series connection

of the two springmass systems and the coupling spring in

the mechanical diagram becomes a parallel arrangement in

the equivalent circuit. The equivalent circuit also includes

a capacitor C

b

which may either represent an unwanted

feedthrough capacitance between the two electrical ports or

it may represent an intentionally added bridging capacitor

used to further shape the passband characteristics [3].

The lter action is reected in the transadmittance

Y(i), dened as i

2

/v

1

, which can easily be obtained

from the equivalent circuit, either from a direct circuit

analysis or by using circuit simulation software. For a

symmetrical design (m

1

= m

2

= m, k

1

= k

2

= k,

c

1

= c

2

= c, and

1

=

2

= ), assuming short-circuited

conditions at the output (i.e., v

2

= 0) and further in the

absence of capacitor C

b

, the transfer admittance can easily

be obtained directly from gure 13(b), resulting in

Y(i)

i

out

v

in

=

i

2

v

1

=

i

2

k

k

c

/k

1 +2k

c

/k

1

_

1 +

ic

k

+

(i)

2

m

k

__

1 +

ic

k+2kc

+

(i)

2

m

k+2kc

_. (8)

The two mode frequencies (

(k/m) and

[(k + 2k

c

)/m)

indicated before are clearly reected in the above equation.

The frequency response Y(i) of this symmetrical design

is determined by the magnitude of the coupling spring as

illustrated by the graph of gure 13(c) showing typical

amplitude response plots. For k

c

>

0

c, the response

displays two distinct resonant peaks, whereas for k

c

<

0

c,

only a single resonance is observed. For the transition

value, k

c

=

0

c, a at passband is obtained. The latter

condition is generally preferred in practical lter designs.

The response achieved for k

0

c =

c

clearly shows that the

passband more closely resembles the ideal square shape as

compared to the passband obtained for a single resonator as

shown in gure 12(c). For more details, reference is made

to the literature, e.g. [3, 15].

5.5. Vibration sensors

Vibration sensors are employed for measurements on

moving vehicles, on buildings, or on machinery or

as seismic pickups [1]. The basic principle of

vibration measurements is simply to measure the relative

displacement of a mass connected by a (soft) spring to

the vibrating body. An example of a vibration sensor

employing an electrodynamic displacement transducer is

shown in gure 14(a). The transducer detects the mass

displacement x

m

relative to the displacement x

in

of the

vibrating body. In the equivalent circuit the input motion

is modelled using an ideal velocity source u

in

. The

displacement x

in

and acceleration a

in

can be directly

obtained from the velocity as follows: x

in

= u

in

/i

and a

in

= iu

in

. An equivalent circuit representation

of the system in gure 14(a) is shown in gure 14(b).

The resistor R

s

represents the total series resistance of

the coil and interconnecting wires. Note that the input

velocity source, the mass m, and the network consisting

of the series connection of the damper c, the spring k,

and the mechanical port of the transducer, are subject to

the same force. In the equivalent circuit this means that

these three networks are placed in parallel. It is evident

that the velocity (and thus the displacement) experienced

by the spring, the damper, and the mechanical port of

the transducer is given by the difference of the mass

displacement and the vibrational input, u

m

u

in

. From

the equivalent circuit, the frequency response for velocity

measurements can now easily be obtained:

v

e

u

in

=

imR

L

2

+

k

i

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

_

R

L

+R

s

+iL

0

_

_

i

0

_

2

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

= B

0

l (9)

where the rst approximation applies for very large load

resistors R

L

and the second approximation is valid at

high frequencies,

0

. Further,

0

=

k/m and

Q = m

0

/c denote the undamped resonant frequency

and quality factor of the springdampermass system,

respectively. Typical amplitudefrequency response plots

are graphically depicted in gure 14(c). The equation above

illustrates that at very high frequencies (

0

) accurate

velocity measurements are possible since the output voltage

is directly proportional to the input velocity. At these high

frequencies the mass practically stays at rest, u

m

0.

For a good design thereof displaying a large bandwidth,

a low resonant frequency is desired, which can be achieved

by choosing a soft spring and/or a large (seismic) mass.

Signals from such transducers can be readily integrated

electrically to obtain displacement information.

Finally, it is pointed out that the electrodynamic

transducer can be replaced by any of the other transducers

shown in gure 3. The equivalent circuit of gure 14(b) is

easily adapted to the new conguration by carrying out the

appropriate replacements of the transducer circuit enclosed

by the dashed box in gure 14(b).

5.6. Systems employing electromechanical feedback

Electromechanical feedback (or force balancing) is often

employed for applications requiring a great accuracy [1].

Instruments employing feedback are even often considered

170

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Figure 14. (a) A schematic diagram of a vibration sensor using an electrodynamic relative displacement sensor. (b) An

equivalent circuit representation. R

s

represents the series resistance of the moving coil. (c) Typical amplitude response

curves, displaying high-pass second-order lter characteristics.

for use as secondary standards. Examples presented in the

literature of micromechanical devices employing feedback

techniques include capacitive accelerometers [16, 17] and

condenser microphones [18, 19]. An arbitrary example of

a system employing electrostatic feedback, that will be

used to illustrate the principle of feedback and the use of

equivalent circuits herein, is shown in gure 15(a). The

system can be used for measuring the force F

m

exerted

directly on the mass (e.g. as in a microphone [18, 19])

or it can be congured to measure the acceleration a

in

of the case which for this application is rigidly xed

to the vibrating body [16, 17] (compare subsection 5.5).

The upper capacitor senses the induced mass displacement

resulting in a change of the plate charge, which can be

detected by means of a charge amplier. The output

voltage of the charge amplier v

a

is next amplied by a

high-gain (servo)amplier yielding the output voltage v

out

which is fed back to the lower capacitor. This generates

an electrostatic force which is proportional to the relative

mass displacement and which always opposes motion of

the mass from the rest position. This way, the mass itself

is kept very close to the zero-displacement position, i.e.,

u

m

u

in

. In this system, the mechanical spring force is

effectively being replaced by an electrostatic restoring force

which is proportional to the displacement of the mass.

The transfer characteristics of the system in gure 15(a)

can be obtained from its equivalent circuit representation,

which is shown in gure 15(b). At this point, it is

emphasized once more that the following analysis is a

small-signal analysis which does not account for non-

linear behaviour. Including non-linearities in feedback

systems is somewhat more involved (see e.g., [1, 16]).

The charge amplier is modelled as an ideal current- (or

better, charge-) controlled voltage source with sensitivity

171

H A C Tilmans

Figure 15. (a) A schematic diagram of a electrostatic force-balanced transducer for the measurement of forces (including

pressures) F

m

or accelerations a

in

. (b) An equivalent circuit representation. The subscripts s and f refer to the sensing

capacitor (the upper one) and the feedback or actuating capacitor (the lower one), respectively. (c) Typical amplitude

response curves, clearly displaying low-pass second-order lter characteristics.

parameter K

s

= 1/C

F

. Note that the output voltage

of the charge amplier, v

a

=

s

K

s

(x

m

x

in

), is directly

proportional to the relative mass displacement. The analysis

does not change signicantly if the upper-capacitor/charge

amplier combination is replaced by another displacement

sensor, e.g., a differential capacitive detector [1, 16, 17, 19].

The frequency response function as obtained from the

equivalent circuit can be expressed as

H(i)

v

out

F

m

ma

in

=

A

s

K

s

k

+A

s

f

K

s

1

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

f

1

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

1

f

(10)

where the rst approximation applies for very high closed-

loop gains, resulting in a large electrical spring constant

k

e

A

s

f

K

s

k

172

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

Figure 16. (a) A schematic diagram showing the implementation of Q-control for a three-port electrostatic comb-driven

micromechanical resonator according to Nguyen and Howe [20]. (b) An equivalent circuit representation. The subscripts s,

f , and in refer to the sense electrode, the feedback electrode, and the driving or input electrode, respectively.

valid at low frequencies,

0

. Further,

0

=

0

_

1 +

A

s

f

K

s

k

0

_

A

s

f

K

s

k

=

0

_

k

e

k

=

_

k

3

m

(11)

and

Q

= Q

_

1 +

A

s

f

K

s

k

Q

_

A

s

f

K

s

k

= Q

_

k

e

k

=

_

mk

e

c

(12)

where

0

=

k

/m and Q = m

0

/c =

m/c denote

the undamped resonant frequency and quality factor of the

springdampermass system, respectively. Note that for

a symmetrical design the bias displacement x

0

= 0, and

that the transduction factors

s

and

f

as well as the static

capacitors C

0s

and C

0f

are equal, respectively given by

s

=

f

= =

0

A

e

v

0

/d

2

and C

0s

= C

0f

= C

0

=

0

A

e

/d, as presented in table 2. Moreover, as indicated

in the equivalent circuit of gure 15(b), it follows that k

is now given by k

= k k

s

k

f

= k 2k

, where the

latter equality applies for a symmetric design with k

2

/C

0

(compare table 4). Typical amplitudefrequency

response plots are graphically depicted in gure 15(c). The

system displays second-order low-pass lter characteristics.

Equation (11) clearly shows that, due to the feedback,

the bandwidth, compared to a system without feedback,

is increased by a factor

k

e

/k

, where k

e

denotes the

electrical spring constant. Thus, the mechanical spring k

k

e

, which offers a greater linearity and accuracy and lack

of hysteresis. Other advantages of employing feedback

are the already indicated increased bandwidth, and further

173

H A C Tilmans

the lower distorsion and lower sensitivity to instabilities

due to environmental factors (e.g. temperature) of some

parameters (e.g., the mechanical spring) [1]. Disadvantages

of feedback systems are usually the greater complexity and

higher costs.

Equation (12) indicates that also the quality factor

increases by a factor

k

e

/k

increase is generally unwanted however, and care must

be taken to ensure a low Q such that Q

will still

be low enough. For critical damping, and thus a

at response, the quality factor Q

should be equal to

1/

the damping properties, as reected in the quality factor,

has been utilized by Nguyen and Howe [20] in parallel

microresonators to precisely control the quality factor and

moreover to make it independent of the ambient operating

pressure of the micromechanical system. Quality factor

control is considered necessary for the bandpass lters

that were described in subsections 5.3 and 5.4. This

is easily understood realizing that the passband shape

strongly depends upon the quality factor of the constituent

resonators. The structure proposed by Nguyen and Howe

[20] to accomplish this is shown in gure 16(a). It

comprises an electrical three-port. One port is used as the

drive or input port, the second as the sense or output port,

and the third is used for feedback purposes as indicated

in the gure. The corresponding equivalent circuit is

shown in gure 16(b). Circuit analysis yields the following

expression for the transfer function:

v

out

v

in

=

i

s

in

R

a

/k

_

1 +

1

Q

_

i

0

_

+

_

i

0

_

2

_

(13)

where the undamped resonant frequency

0

=

k/m and

the quality factor Q

is given by

Q

=

Q

1 +

s f Ra

c

Q

s f Ra

c

=

m

0

f

R

a

=

km

f

R

a

. (14)

The latter equation indicates that the quality factor can be

made independent of the viscous damping parameter c and

thus independent of ambient pressure (and temperature)

uctuations as these are reected in c. Furthermore the

quality factor will be lowered through the application of

the negative feedback. By using positive feedback, on

the other hand, it is possible to raise the quality factor.

Positive feedback can be realized by merely changing R

a

from positive to negative, or by feeding back the output

signal to the driving site instead of the sensing site. For

more details, reference is made to [20].

6. Conclusions

The underlying theory describing the electromechanical be-

haviour of electrostatic, electromagnetic, and electrody-

namic lumped-parameter transducers has been presented

and has been illustrated with a wide range of practical de-

vices. The results are summarized in the form of small-

signal equivalent circuits that form an exact representation

of the linear electromechanical behaviour of the transduc-

ers. Irrespective of the type of transducer employed, it

turned out that the circuits all display the same principal

arrangement, consisting of three main parts: an electrical

part, an electromechanical coupling part, and a mechanical

(including acoustical) part.

The equivalent circuits can be used to determine

the frequency and transient response of the transducer,

thereby conveniently making use of widely available circuit

simulation software such as SPICE. The theory as presented

in this paper denes a fundamental basis for further

investigation of the transducer characteristics. For instance,

the equivalent circuits can be used as a starting point to

study the effects of connecting subsystems or of making

modications to the structure.

Acknowledgment

The author greatly acknowledges Professor Jan Fluitman

of the Mesa Research InstituteUniversity of Twente

for the many fruitful discussions on the principles of

electromechanical transduction.

Appendix A. Lumped-parameter systems: the

constitutive equations

In order to illustrate the underlying theory, consider the

ideal electrostatic transducer of gure 3(a). The derivations

are based on the principle of conservation of system energy

[8]. The state variables are the displacement x

t

and the

capacitor charge q

t

. In a dynamic analysis of the system all

variables are functions of time t , but explicit indication of

this dependence is omitted as a matter of convenience. The

electric energy W

e

contained in the electrostatic transducer

is given by [8]

W

e

= W

e

_

q

t

, x

t

_

=

q

2

t

2C(x

t

)

=

q

2

t

(d +x

t

)

2

0

A

e

(A1)

where C(x

t

) =

0

A

e

/(d +x

t

) denotes the capacitance as a

function of x

t

, A

e

is the area of the capacitor plates, and

d the spacing of the uncharged plates. Taking the total

differential of W

e

results in

dW

e

=

_

W

e

q

t

_

xt =const ant

dq

t

+

_

W

e

x

t

_

qt =const ant

dx

t

.

(A2)

For a conservative transducer in thermodynamic equilib-

rium, the energy put into the transducer through the electric

and mechanical ports is given by

dW

e

= v

t

dq

t

+F

t

dx

t

(A3)

where v

t

is the voltage between the plates and F

t

is the

mechanical force acting on the movable plate. Subtracting

(A2) and (A3) and noting that dq

t

and dx

t

can have arbitrary

values, the resulting equation must be satised by requiring

that the coefcients of dq

t

and dx

t

must be zero. Hence,

v

t

_

q

t

, x

t

_

W

e

(q

t

, x

t

)

q

t

xt =const ant

=

q

t

(d +x

t

)

0

A

e

(A4a)

and

F

t

_

q

t

, x

t

_

W

e

(q

t

, x

t

)

x

t

qt =const ant

=

q

2

t

2

0

A

e

. (A4b)

174

Lumped-parameter electromechanical transducers

The above equations dene the terminal voltage and the

force as being the effort variables at the respective ports.

The equilibrium values are given by the partial derivatives

of W

e

with respect to the corresponding state variable [8].

Note that F

t

is the externally applied force necessary to

achieve equilibrium. It is evident that in magnitude it

is equal to the electrostatic Coulomb force between the

charged plates of the capacitor, but has opposite direction.

Also note that the force displays a quadratic dependence

on the charge, which makes the system non-linear.

Linearization is commonly accomplished by introducing

bias or equilibrium conditions. The equations which

describe the linear relations between the incremental or

small-signal effort variables and state variables, determined

at the bias point dened by a displacement x

0

and charge q

0

,

are called the constitutive equations. For the electrostatic

transducer these are given by

v(q, x) =

v

t

q

t

0

q +

v

t

x

t

0

x

=

(d +x

0

)

0

A

e

q +

q

0

0

A

e

x =

1

C

0

q +

v

0

x

0

x (A5a)

and

F(q, x) =

F

t

q

t

0

q +

F

t

x

t

0

x

=

q

0

0

A

e

q +0 x =

v

0

x

0

q +0 x. (A5b)

To obtain the very last expressions on the right hand side,

the following equality was used: q

0

= C

0

v

0

=

0

A

e

v

0

/x

0

,

where v

0

denotes the bias voltage and C

0

denotes the static

or bias capacitance. It is noted that the bias signals are

independent of time since they dene the static equilibrium

condition.

The ideal transducer described above is not of great

practical use since it is not stable. This can be reasoned as

follows. Assume the system is in equilibrium, meaning that

the externally applied mechanical force is counterbalanced

by the electrostatic force. Now if, due to some disturbance,

the movable plate is displaced a little in the direction of the

xed plate (i.e., the negative x direction) while keeping

the applied voltage constant, the attractive electrostatic

force will increase a little and becomes somewhat larger

than the external mechanical force. This will increase

the displacement of the plate even further, which in its

turn results in a further increase of the electrostatic force.

This will go on until the gap spacing is reduced to zero.

Similarly, if the movable plate were initially displaced a

little further away from the xed plate (i.e., in the positive

x direction), force equilibrium is again destroyed. Now, the

mechanical force exceeds the ever decreasing electrostatic

force and the plate will eventually disappear into innity.

Stability is easily attained by including a mechanical spring

with constant k, e.g., as shown in gure 4. Analytically this

means that a mechanical energy term must be added to the

energy function of (A1), resulting in

W

em

= W

em

_

q

t

, x

t

_

=

q

2

t

2C(x

t

)

+

1

2

k

_

x

t

x

r

_

2

=

q

2

t

(d +x

t

)

2

0

A

e

+

1

2

k

_

x

t

x

r

_

2

(A6)

where x

r

denotes the rest position of the spring.

Equation (A4a) is not affected this way, but (A4b) is:

F

t

_

q

t

, x

t

_

W

em

(q

t

, x

t

)

x

t

qt =const ant

=

q

2

t

2

0

A

e

+kx

t

.

(A7)

Finally, the second of the constitutive equations, (A5b),

must be replaced by

F(q, x) =

F

t

q

t

0

q +

F

t

x

t

0

x =

q

0

0

A

e

q +kx =

v

0

x

0

q +kx.

(A8)

The constitutive equations (A5a) and (A8) are expressed

as a relation of the (q, x) type, whereby the state variables

are chosen as the independent variables. Sometimes it is

more convenient to choose the voltage and the displacement

as the independent variables. The electromechanical

interactions are now described by equations of the (v, x)

type, given by

q(v, x) =

0

A

e

d +x

0

v

q

0

d +x

0

x

=

0

A

e

d +x

0

v

0

A

e

v

0

(d +x

0

)

2

x (A9a)

F(q, x) =

q

0

d +x

0

v +

_

k

q

2

0

0

A

e

(d +x

0

)

_

x

=

0

A

e

v

0

(d +x

0

)

2

v +

_

k

0

A

e

v

2

0

(d +x

0

)

3

_

x. (A9b)

It can easily be shown that the equilibrium position of the

transducer, including the spring k, is, apart from excessive

bias loads [10], stable. In fact the system is stable as long

as k > k

, where k

=

0

A

e

v

2

0

/(d + x

0

)

3

, i.e., the second

term within parentheses in (A9b).

Appendix B. Nomenclature

A beam or diaphragm area (subjected to

acoustic pressure) [m

2

]

A

e

effective electrode area (also for the

electromagnetic transducer) [m

2

]

B

0

applied bias magnetic induction [T]

c viscous drag parameter [N s m

1

]

C

0

static or bias capacitance of the

electrostatic transducers [F]

C

p

parasitic capacitance [F]

d gap spacing at rest, also called the

zero-voltage gap spacing [m]

F, F

0

, F

t

incremental, bias (static) and total

applied mechanical force [N]

i, i

0

, i

t

incremental, bias (static) and total

current [A]

k mechanical spring constant [N m

1

]

k

coupling effects [N m

1

]

k

as a result of electromechanical coupling

[N m

1

]

175

H A C Tilmans

l active wire length of the moving

coil coupled with the magnetic eld [m]

L

0

static or bias self-inductance of

the electromagnetic transducer [H]

L

s

self-inductance of the current loop

of the electrodynamic transducer [H]

N number of windings of the driving

coil for the electromagnetic (and

moving coil) transducer []

p

g

generator acoustic pressure [N m

2

]

p, p

0

, p

t

incremental, bias (static), and total

acoustic pressure [N m

2

]

q, q

0

, q

t

incremental, bias (static), and total

charge [C]

Q, Q

quality factors []

u incremental velocity [m s

1

]

v, v

0

, v

t

incremental, bias (static), and total

terminal voltage [V]

x, x

0

, x

t

incremental phasor, bias (static),

and total displacement [m]

Z

a

acoustic impedance [N s m

5

]

transduction factor of the electrostatic

transducer [N V

1

]

0

permittivity of free space [F m

1

]

,

(acoustic) volume displacement [m

3

]

and volume velocity [m

3

s

1

]

electromechanical coupling factor []

,

0

,

t

incremental, bias (static), and total

ux linkage [Wb]

[Wb s

1

]

0

permeability of free space [H m

1

]

transduction factor of the lumped-

parameter electromagnetic and

electrodynamic transducers [N A

1

]

radial frequency [rad s

1

]

0

undamped resonant frequency [rad s

1

]

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176

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