Dynamic instabilities in coupled oscillators induced by geometrically nonlinear damping

David Andersen, Yuli Starosvetsky, Alexander Vakakis, Lawrence Bergman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamics of a system of coupled oscillators possessing strongly nonlinear stiffness and damping is examined. The system consists of a linear oscillator coupled to a strongly nonlinear, light attachment, where the nonlinear terms of the system are realized due to geometric effects. We show that the effects of nonlinear damping are far from being purely parasitic and introduce new dynamics when compared to the corresponding systems with linear damping. The dynamics is analyzed by performing a slow/fast decomposition leading to slow flows, which in turn are used to study transient instability caused by a bifurcation to 1:3 resonance capture. In addition, a new dynamical phenomenon of continuous resonance scattering is observed that is both persistent and prevalent for the case of the nonlinearly damped system: For certain moderate excitations, the transient dynamics "tracks" a manifold of impulsive orbits, in effect transitioning between multiple resonance captures over definitive frequency and energy ranges. Eventual bifurcation to 1:3 resonance capture generates the dynamic instability, which is manifested as a sudden burst of the response of the light attachment. Such instabilities that result in strong energy transfer indicate potential for various applications of nonlinear damping such as in vibration suppression and energy harvesting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-827
Number of pages21
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Essential nonlinearity
  • Impulsive orbit
  • Nonlinear damping
  • Nonlinear energy sink

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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