Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Professor John Dryden.


A mathematical treatment of the general problem of electrical contacts and heating related to MEMS switch contacts is developed. The spatial distri­ bution of the potential, the current and the temperature in a special case of electrical contact between two gold bodies whose thermal and electrical conductivities vary with temperature is analyzed, and an explanation for the collapse of gold contact system before reaching the melting point is given. For this purpose three different methods are applied. First, we develop an exact solution, which involves with solving a dual integral equation leading to a Fred­ holm integral equation, that is solved numerically. Secondly, a simple model to obtain an approximate resistance of an a-spot system is presented. Finally, another approximate solution is developed, where the variational method is implemented to reduce the complicated computations of the exact method. Excellent agreement is demonstrated between the results of the exact and the variational methods for all sizes of a-spots in contact systems.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.