In this paper an alternative approach to the modelling of plates with a large number of holes is presented. By means of plate theory, it is shown that perforated plates can be modelled by conventional orthotropic plates with modified elastic properties. The modification of the elastic constants is derived by equalizing the strain-energy of the perforated and the orthotropic plate. The model obtained is then compared with previous methods and applied in the electrochemical simulation of a silicon micromachined microphone structure. The microphone structures are simulated numerically, using an algorithm based on finite differences.