Relaxation oscillations, subharmonic orbits and chaos in the dynamics of a linear lattice with a local essentially nonlinear attachment

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We study the dynamic interactions between traveling waves propagating in a linear lattice and a lightweight, essentially nonlinear and damped local attachment. Correct to leading order, we reduce the dynamics to a strongly nonlinear damped oscillator forced by two harmonic terms. One of the excitation frequencies is characteristic of the traveling wave that impedes to the attachment, whereas the other accounts for local lattice dynamics. These two frequencies are energy-independent; a third energy-dependent frequency is present in the problem, characterizing the nonlinear oscillation of the attachment when forced by the traveling wave. We study this three-frequency strongly nonlinear problem through slow-fast partitions of the dynamics and resort to action-angle coordinates and Melnikov analysis. For damping below a critical threshold, we prove the existence of relaxation oscillations of the attachment; these oscillations are associated with enhanced targeted energy transfer from the traveling wave to the attachment. Moreover, in the limit of weak or no damping, we prove the existence of subharmonic oscillations of arbitrarily large periods, and of chaotic motions. The analytical results are supported by numerical simulations of the reduced order model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-463
Number of pages21
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2010



  • Chaotic orbits
  • Essential stiffness nonlinearity
  • Relaxation oscillations
  • Subharmonic orbits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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