Flexoelectricity includes two effects: the direct flexoelectric effect and the converse flexoelectric effect, which can be respectively applied to flexoelectric sensors and actuators to monitor structural dynamic behaviors or to control structural vibrations. This study focuses on the converse flexoelectric effect and its application to dynamic control of cantilever beams analytically and experimentally. In the mathematical model, a conductive atomic force microscope (AFM) probe with an external voltage is used to generate an inhomogeneous electric field driving the flexoelectric beam. The electric field gradient leads to an actuation stress in the longitudinal direction due to the converse flexoelectric effect. The actuation stress results in a bending control moment to the flexoelectric beam since the stress in the thickness is inhomogeneous. In order to evaluate the actuation effect of the flexoelectric actuator, the flexoelectric induced tip displacement is evaluated when the mechanical force is assumed zero. With the induced control moment, vibration control of the cantilever beam is discussed and the control effect is evaluated. Flexoelectric control effects with different design parameters, such as AFM probe location, AFM probe radius and flexoelectric beam thickness, are evaluated. Analytical results show that the optimal AFM probe location for all beam modes is close to the fixed end. Besides, thinner AFM probe radius and thinner flexoelectric beam enhance the control effects. Laboratory experiments are also conducted with different probe locations to validate the analytical predictions. Experimental results show that the induced tip displacement decreases when the input location moves away from the fixed end, which is consistent with the analytical prediction. The studies provide design guidelines of flexoelectric actuations in engineering applications.

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