Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions of Strongly Nonlinear Periodic Orbits of the Forced Pendulum

V. N. Pilipchuk, A. F. Vakakis, M. A.F. Azeez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We employ nonsmooth transformations of the independent coordinate to analytically construct families of strongly nonlinear periodic solutions of the harmonically forced nonlinear pendulum. Each family is parametrized by the period of oscillation, and the solutions are based on piecewise constant generating solutions. By examining the behavior of the constructed solutions for large periods, we find that the periodic orbits develop sensitive dependence on initial conditions. As a result, for small perturbations of the initial conditions the response of the system can 'jump' from one periodic orbit to another and the dynamics become unpredictable. An analytical procedure is described which permits the study of the generation of periodic orbits as the period increases. The periodic solutions constructed in this work provide insight into the sensitive dependence on initial conditions of chaotic trajectories close to transverse intersections of invariant manifolds of saddle orbits of forced nonlinear oscillators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Nonlinear subharmonic orbits
  • Sensitive dependence on initial conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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