An experimental testbed for investigating nonsmooth bifurcations in an electromechanical system

Bryan Wilcox, Harry Dankowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we detail the design, construction, experimental investigation, theoretical modeling, and numerical exploration of a laboratory-scale electromechanical device, which includes the possibility of recurrent mechanical contact and exploitable multidomain signal transduction. In particular, we illustrate the use of inductive coupling between electrical and mechanical degrees of freedom to actuate and interrogate changes in the mechanical response due to the onset of contact through the coupled behavior of the device current. It is shown that nonsmooth bifurcations associated with a transition from nonimpacting to impacting dynamics, induced by changes in critical parameter values, may result in detectable changes in the current amplitude and, significantly, frequency content. The device design and the observed results are argued to support a similar functionality in microscale devices, where multidomain coupling is common.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-535
Number of pages15
JournalJVC/Journal of Vibration and Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Bifurcation
  • electromechanical
  • experiment
  • impact
  • nonsmooth
  • transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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