Measurement of nonlinear normal modes using multi-harmonic stepped force appropriation and free decay

David A. Ehrhardt, Matthew S. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonlinear Normal Modes (NNMs) offer tremendous insight into the dynamic behavior of a nonlinear system, extending many concepts that are familiar in linear modal analysis. Hence there is interest in developing methods to experimentally and numerically determine a system's NNMs for model updating or simply to characterize its dynamic response. Previous experimental work has shown that a mono-harmonic excitation can be used to isolate a system's dynamic response in the neighborhood of a NNM along the main backbones of a system. This work shows that a multi-harmonic excitation is needed to isolate a NNM when well separated linear modes of a structure couple to produce an internal resonance. It is shown that one can tune the multiple harmonics of the input excitation using a plot of the input force versus the response velocity until the area enclosed by the force-velocity curve is minimized. Once an appropriated NNM is measured, one can increase the force level and retune the frequency to obtain a NNM at a higher amplitude or remove the excitation and measure the structure's decay down a NNM backbone. This work explores both methods using simulations and measurements of a nominally-flat clamped-clamped beam excited at a single point with a magnetic force. Numerical simulations are used to validate the method in a well defined environment and to provide comparison with the experimentally measured NNMs. The experimental results seem to produce a good estimate of two NNMs along their backbone and part of an internal resonance branch. Full-field measurements are then used to further explore the couplings between the underlying linear modes along the identified NNMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-633
Number of pages22
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuous-scan laser Doppler vibrometry
  • Experimental force appropriation
  • Nonlinear normal mode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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