Design and characterization of a silicon piezoresistive three-axial force sensor for micro-flapping wing MAV applications

Wei Zhang, Van Tien Truong, Kim Boon Lua, A. Senthil Kumar, Tee Tai Lim, Khoon Seng Yeo, Guangya Zhou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper describes the design and electro-mechanical characterizations of a three-axial micro piezoresistive force sensor fabricated by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies. This is the first three-axial MEMS micro force sensor applied to the study of Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) aerodynamics. A standard dry etching fabrication process using Silicon On Insulator (SOI) wafer is employed to fabricate the multi-axis sensors. Conventional cross-beam structure is employed. There are eight piezoresistors on the beams, and each of the silicon strain gauge size is 15 μm in width, and between 400 and 500 μm in length. The Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis for confirming the piezoresistors attachment locations is performed. The miniaturized force sensor (11×11 mm2) is attached at the wing base of a micro flapping wing system (MAV, 70×30 mm2) by a short pillar. The sensor is designed to detect the dynamic drag force and lift force generated by a single wing under a moderate flapping frequency (5~10Hz) simultaneously. The characterizations are experimentally investigated. The sensor should be stiff enough to withstand the high inertial force (200 millinewton) and also has high resolution to detect the minimal force correctly. Measurements show that the resolution is on the order of a millinewton. High linearity and low hysteresis under normal forces and tangential forces are demonstrated by applying forces from 0 to 0.1 N. The micro flapping wing mechanism and the assembly of wing and sensor are also discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Experimental Mechanics 2014
EditorsAnand Asundi, Fook Siong Chau, Chenggen Quan, Kemao Qian
ISBN (Electronic)9781628413885
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
EventInternational Conference on Experimental Mechanics 2014, ICEM 2014 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 15 Nov 201417 Nov 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceInternational Conference on Experimental Mechanics 2014, ICEM 2014


  • Force measurements
  • Micro flapping wing
  • Three-axial piezoresistive force sensor


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