The mechanical behavior of a micromachined PZT membrane for power applications is investigated. The membrane is a bulk-micromachined silicon membrane that supports a thin film of piezoelectric ceramic (PZT) sandwiched between platinum and gold electrodes. The membrane undergoes large periodic deflections to convert mechanical power to electrical power in a micro heat engine. An analysis using a variational approach is developed to find an approximate closed from solution based on energy minimization. Experiments were conducted to obtain material properties, residual stresses, and pressure deflection relationships. The modeled results compare well to the experimental results.

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