Non-reciprocity in nonlinear elastodynamics

Antoine Blanchard, Themistoklis P. Sapsis, Alexander F. Vakakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reciprocity is a fundamental property of linear time-invariant (LTI) acoustic waveguides governed by self-adjoint operators with symmetric Green's functions. The break of reciprocity in LTI elastodynamics is only possible through the break of time reversal symmetry on the micro-level, and this can be achieved by imposing external biases, adding nonlinearities or allowing for time-varying system properties. We present a Volterra-series based asymptotic analysis for studying spatial non-reciprocity in a class of one-dimensional (1D), time-invariant elastic systems with weak stiffness nonlinearities. We show that nonlinearity is neither necessary nor sufficient for breaking reciprocity in this class of systems; rather, it depends on the boundary conditions, the symmetries of the governing linear and nonlinear operators, and the choice of the spatial points where the non-reciprocity criterion is tested. Extension of the analysis to higher dimensions and time-varying systems is straightforward from a mathematical point of view (but not in terms of new non-reciprocal physical phenomena), whereas the connection of non-reciprocity and time irreversibility can be studied as well. Finally, we show that suitably defined non-reciprocity measures enable optimization, and can provide physical understanding of the nonlinear effects in the dynamics, enabling one to establish regimes of “maximum nonlinearity.” We highlight the theoretical developments by means of a numerical example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
StatePublished - Jan 6 2018


  • Elastodynamics
  • Nonlinear
  • Reciprocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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