A theoretical and experimental investigation of a three-degree-of-freedom structure

T. A. Nayfeh, A. H. Nayfeh, D. T. Mook

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32 Scopus citations


The response of a structure to a simple-harmonic excitation is investigated theoretically and experimentally. The structure consists of two light-weight beams arranged in a T-shape turned on its side. Relatively heavy and concentrated weights are placed at the upper and lower free ends and at the point where the two beams are joined. The base of the 'T' is clamped to the head of a shaker. Because the masses of the concentrated weights are much larger than the masses of the beams, the first three natural frequencies are far below the fourth; consequently, for relatively low frequencies of the excitation, the structure has, for all practical purposes, only three degrees of freedom. The lengths and weights are chosen so that the third natural frequency is approximately equal to the sum of the two lower natural frequencies, an arrangement that produces an autoparametric (also called an internal) resonance. A linear analysis is performed to predict the natural frequencies and to aid in the design of the experiment; the predictions and observations are in close agreement. Then a nonlinear analysis of the response to a prescribed transverse motion at the base of the 'T' is performed. The method of multiple scales is used to obtain six first-order differential equations describing the modulations of the amplitudes and phases of the three interacting modes when the frequency of the excitation is near the third natural frequency. Some of the predicted phenomena include periodic, two-period quasiperiodic, and phase-locked (also called synchronized) motions; coexistence of multiple stable motions and the attendant jumps; and saturation. All the predictions are confirmed in the experiments, and some phenomena that are not yet explained by theory are observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-374
Number of pages22
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoparametric resonance
  • combination resonance
  • phase-locked motions
  • quasiperiodic motions
  • saturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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