A novel design for a micromachined accelerometer is proposed. The working principle of the proposed design is detection of the movement of a liquid droplet in response to an imposed acceleration. When the acceleration is removed, the accelerometer is automatically re-set by the differential pressure of confined air cushions. Experimental and numerical studies are used to evaluate the feasibility of the design, and to guide the selection of a suitable working fluid. Figures for sensitivity and response time are calculated, and the dependence of these performance parameters on working fluid properties is established. On the basis of these studies, a specific geometry, detection method and choice of materials is recommended, and a MEMS fabrication process for the device is outlined.
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