Curved bistable beams subjected to transverse loading may exhibit latching, namely remain in their buckled state under zero force. Under such circumstances, an opposite force is required for snapping-back (release) of the beam to its initial configuration. For an electrostatically actuated beam, two electrodes located at either side of the beam may therefore be required for bidirectional actuation. In this study, a new snapping and release procedures, are considered. The approach involves the preloading of the beam using an electrostatic force in the direction opposite to the beam desired movement, followed by a sudden release of the voltage. We show, by means of a reduced order (RO) model, resulting from the Galerkin decomposition, that such an actuation paradigm can not only be used to release a beam from its latched position, but can also create a snap-through response at a significantly low voltage.

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