Complicated dynamics of a linear oscillator with a light, essentially nonlinear attachment

Young Sup Lee, Gaetan Kerschen, Alexander F. Vakakis, Panagiotis Panagopoulos, Lawrence Bergman, D. Michael McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the dynamics of a two-degree-of-freedom (DOF) nonlinear system consisting of a grounded linear oscillator coupled to a light mass by means of an essentially nonlinear (nonlinearizable) stiffness. We consider first the undamped system and perform a numerical study based on non-smooth transformations to determine its periodic solutions in a frequency-energy plot. It is found that there is a sequence of periodic solutions bifurcating or emanating from the main backbone curve of the plot. We then study analytically the periodic orbits of the undamped system using a complexification/averaging technique in order to determine the frequency contents of the various branches of solutions, and to understand the types of oscillation performed by the system at the different regimes of the motion. The transient responses of the weakly damped system are then examined, and numerical wavelet transforms are used to study the time evolutions of their harmonic components. We show that the structure of periodic orbits of the undamped system greatly influences the damped dynamics, as it causes complicated transitions between modes in the damped transient motion. In addition, there is the possibility of strong passive energy transfer (energy pumping) from the linear oscillator to the nonlinear attachment if certain periodic orbits of the undamped dynamics are excited by the initial conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-69
Number of pages29
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 1 2005


  • Energy transfer
  • Essential nonlinearity
  • Resonance capture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


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