Piezoresistive sensors are commonly made of a piezoresistive membrane attached to a flexible substrate, a plate. They have been widely studied and used in several applications. It has been found that the size, position and geometry of the piezoresistive membrane may affect the performance of the sensors. Based on this remark, in this work, a topology optimization methodology for the design of piezoresistive plate-based sensors, for which both the piezoresistive membrane and the flexible substrate disposition can be optimized, is evaluated. Perfect coupling conditions between the substrate and the membrane based on the layerwise theory for laminated plates, and a material model for the piezoresistive membrane based on the solid isotropic material with penalization model, are employed. The design goal is to obtain the configuration of material that maximizes the sensor sensitivity to external loading, as well as the stiffness of the sensor to particular loads, which depend on the case (application) studied. The proposed approach is evaluated by studying two distinct examples: the optimization of an atomic force microscope probe and a pressure sensor. The results suggest that the performance of the sensors can be improved by using the proposed approach.
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