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Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

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Non-linear forced vibrations of thin/thick beams and plates


by the nite element and shooting methods
P. Ribeiro

IDMEC/DEMEGI, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Rua Doutor Roberto Frias, s/n, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Received 10 March 2004; accepted 12 March 2004
Available online 20 May 2004

Abstract
The shooting, Newton and p-version, hierarchical nite element methods are applied to study geometrically nonlinear periodic vibrations of elastic and isotropic, beams and plates. Thin and thick or rst-order shear deformation
theories are followed. One of the main goals of the work presented is to demonstrate that the methods suggested are
highly adequate to analyse the periodic, forced non-linear dynamics of beam and plate structures. An additional
purpose is to investigate the dierences in the predictions of non-linear motions when thin and thick, either beam
or plate theories are followed. To this ends response curves are derived, dening both stable and unstable solutions and
the characteristics of the motions are investigated using time plots, phase planes and Fourier spectra.
 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Non-linear vibrations; Periodic; Shooting; Thin; Thick; Beam; Plate

1. Introduction
A multi-degree of freedom linear system is characterised by a set of frequency response functions (FRFs),
where each FRF relates the amplitude and phase of the
response of a determined degree of freedom to a harmonic excitation in the same or other degree of freedom.
In linear systems, the response is linearly proportional to
the amplitude of the excitation, thus, each FRF does not
depend on the excitations amplitude and is a unique
property of the system. Therefore, the FRFs provide a
powerful way of understanding the dynamics of a linear
structure [1].
When large displacements arise and the system becomes geometrically non-linear, the steady-state response is not proportional to the amplitude of the
excitation. The designation frequency response function could still be used to entitle a function that relates
the response of a non-linear structural system to a cer-

Tel.: +351-22-508-17-13; fax: +351-22-508-14-45.


E-mail address: pmleal@fe.up.pt (P. Ribeiro).

tain harmonic excitation, in a similar way to linear


analysis. However, not only the response is a non-linear
function of the excitation amplitude, but also dierent
steady-state solutions are possible for the same frequency and amplitude of excitation, depending on the
initial conditions. Other signicant points are, of course,
that in a non-linear system harmonic excitations can
cause periodic but non-harmonic, quasi-periodic or chaotic responses [2], and that the superposition principle
does not hold.
It is, nevertheless, still valuable to know how the nonlinear structure responds to harmonic excitations, and
dierent methods have been implemented to numerically
predict these responses. Due to the reasons explained
above, the relations between the steady-state response
and the harmonic excitations will henceforth be designated simply as response functions in non-linear systems.
Finite element methods are often used in non-linear
structural dynamics. In what the spatial model of elemental structures like beams and plates is concerned, the
elements are many times derived following the so-called
thin and thick, or rst-order shear deformation (FOSD),

0045-7949/$ - see front matter  2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.compstruc.2004.03.037

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P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

theories [3]. One nds many discussions of the domain


of validity of these theories published, but they are most
usually in the linear vibrations realm, although some
works are also in non-linear free vibrations, as for
example reference [4].
When periodic solutions are sought, the nite element equations of motion can be solved in the frequency
domain by the harmonic balance method [2] (HBM) or
by the incremental harmonic balance method [5], which
is similar to the HBM plus a NewtonRaphson procedure [6]. In the HBM the time solution is written in the
form of a truncated Fourier series, and the coecients of
the same harmonic components are compared. In this
way, non-linear algebraic equations in the space variables and frequency are obtained. For a damped system
with n degrees of freedom, the harmonic balance method
requires the solution of 2nk or 2nk 1 non-linear algebraic equations, where k is the number of harmonics
used. If multi-modal and multi-frequency motions
occur, then the number of equations to solve can become
quite large [4,710], and it is cumbersome to derive the
frequency domain equations of motion. Moreover, if
the correct number and type of harmonics is not used, the
harmonic balance solution leads to incorrect data.
The numerical integration of the equations of motion
in the time domain using methods like nite dierences
or Newmarks method [11] is quite popular amongst
nite element users. Unlike the HBM, time domain
numerical integration schemes allow one to analyse nonperiodic motions. However, convergence to a steadystate solution may take a very long time, particularly if
damping is small. Moreover, to nd periodic solutions
by numerical integration, one chooses an initial condition and integrates the system of equations until convergence is achieved. With this approach it may be
dicult to ascertain that a steady-state condition was
reached, and which condition was reached when multiple solutions exist. Thus, these methods are not per se
recommendable to construct the response curves.
The shooting method [1215] is a time domain technique of great potential to analyse non-linear periodic
motions and to dene response curves. Unlike in the
HBM, the original number of equations to be solved does
not depend on the number of harmonics present in the
motions Fourier spectrum. Naturally, as a time domain
procedure, the best time step to use depends on the motions Fourier spectrum, but this time step can be easily,
or automatically, changed. Moreover, the shooting
method gives as a by-product the monodromy matrix,
the eigenvalues of which dene the solutions stability.
In this paper, an algorithm based on the shooting
method is applied to solve nite element equations of
motion and study geometrically non-linear vibrations of
beams and plates. It is intended to demonstrate that
these methods constitute a valuable tool to study periodic motions of structures, and therefore to dene the

response curves of elastic continua. Elastic and isotropic, thin and thick, beams and plates are analysed. Another primary goal of the paper is to examine the
domain of validity of the thin beam and plate theories
in periodic, forced non-linear vibrations.
2. Equations of motion, shooting and Newton methods
Following the rst-order shear deformation theory
(FOSDT), as in [4], the displacement components along
the x and y directions, u, v, are functions of the midsurface membrane translations u0 , v0 and of the rotations of the normal to the midsurface about the x- and
y-axis. The latter are denoted by h0x and h0y . Still according to the FOSDT, the transverse displacement w does
not depend on the coordinate z, on the axis normal to
the plane xy. Hence, the displacements are given by:
ux; y; z; t u0 x; y; t zh0y x; y; t;

vx; y; z; t v0 x; y; t  zh0x x; y; t;

wx; y; z; t w0 x; y; t:

For lower order modes of thin plates, the following well


known assumptions can be implemented:
hy w0;x ;

hx w0;y :

In the case of a beam, only Eqs. (1), (3) and (4) apply,
dropping the y argument.
To employ some discretisation procedure, like the
nite element or the Galerkin method, one considers
that the actual displacements are functions of spatial
functionsthe shape functions fN x; ygT and of time
dependent generalised displacements fqtg:
8 0
9
u x; y; t >
>
>
>
> 0
>
>
>
>
>
>
< v x; y; t >
=
w0 x; y; t
>
>
>
0
> hy x; y; t >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
: 0
;
hx x; y; t
2 u
T
fN x; yg
6
6
0
6
6
0
6
6
4
0
0
8
9
qu t >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
< qv t >
=
 qw t :
>
>
>
> qh t >
>
>
>
y
>
>
>
>
:
;
qhx t

0
u

fN x; yg

0
T

fN w x; yg

fN hy x; yg

0
fN hx x; yg

7
7
7
7
7
7
5

The superscripts or subscripts u, v, w, hx and hy indicate,


respectively, if the vectors or matrices are connected
with the membrane displacements along x or y, with the
displacement along z or with one of the rotations. For

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

thin structures it is possible to discard the terms connected with hx and hy in Eq. (6).
The equations of motion can be derived by the
principle of virtual work, Hamiltons principle, or other
[3]. For geometrically non-linear problems and if
damping is included, they are of the form
_
Mfqtg Cfqtg
Kfqtg KNLfqtg
 fqtg fP tg;

where M is the mass matrix, C the damping matrix,


K the linear stiness matrix and [KNL] the non-linear
stiness matrix. The latter matrix depends on the generalised transverse displacements fqtg. The dot over a
variable indicates dierentiation with respect to time.
Considering stiness proportional damping, the equations of motion of thin structures are of the form [9,10]:
9
2
38
Mu 
< qu t =
0
0
4 0
Mv 
0 5 qv t
0
0
Mw  : qw t ;
9
2
38
0
0
< q_ u t =
K1u 
K1v 
0 5 q_ v t
a4 0
0
0
K1b  : q_ w t ;
9
2
38
0
K2 
< qu t =
K1u 
5 qv t
K1v 
K2 
4 0
K3  K3  K1b  K4  : qw t ;
8
9
< Pu t =
8
Pv t :
: P t ;
w
In the former equation, matrices of type K1  are linear
stiness matrices, and K2 , K3  and K4  are non-linear
stiness matrices. fP tg represents a vector of generalised external forces and a represents the loss factor.
The subscript b denotes bending.
If rst-order transverse shear is considered, we have [4]
9
2
38
>
>

Mu 
0
0
0
0
t
q
>
>
u
>
>
>
>
>
6 0
7
0
0
0 7< qv t >
Mv 
=
6
6 0
0
Mw 
0
0 7
6
7> qw t >
>
4 0
0 5>
0
0
MRy 
>
> qhy t >
>
>
>
:
qhx t ;
0
0
0
0
MRx 
2
3
0
0
0
0
K1u 
6 0
7
0
0
0
K1v 
6
7
7

K

K

0
0
K
6
1c
1c
1c
6
7
4 0
5
K1b 
0
K1c  K1b  K1c 
K1b 
K3
0
0
K1c 
1b  K1c 
8
8
9 2
9
qu t >
0
0
K2  0 0 > qu t >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
0
K2  0 0 7
< qv t >
= 6
6 0
7< qv t =
6
7
 qw t 6 K3  K3  K4  0 0 7 qw t
>
>
>
>
>
> 4 0
>
0
0
0 0 5>
>
>
: qhy t >
: qhy t >
;
;
qhx t
qhx t
0
0
0
0 0
8
9
Pu t >
>
>
>
>
< Pv t >
=
Pw t ;
9

>
>
>
> Mhy t >
>
:
;
Mhx t

1415

where MRy  and MRx  are due to the rotatory inertia,


K1c  is a linear stiness matrix due to shear, and fMhy g
and fMhx g are externally applied moments. The other
symbols are common with the ones of Eq. (8).
The methods of solution suggested in this paper
should be applicable to equations of motion obtained
using any spatial discretisation procedure; but the pversion, hierarchical nite element method, which has
the major advantage of requiring fewer degrees of freedom than the h-version of the FEM [4,9,10], will be used
in the numerical applications.
The vector of generalised external forces, fP tg, is
an explicit function of time; thus, the systems analysed
are non-autonomous. Harmonic excitations of the
following form:
fP tg fP g cosxt

10

are considered. In Eq. (10), fP g is the vector of amplitudes of the external forces, with period Te 2p=x,
where x is the frequency of excitation. The shooting
method [1215] is applied to nd T -periodic responses,
where T is a multiple of Te , of the system of n secondorder dierential equations of motion (7). First this is
transformed into the following system of 2n rst-order
dierential equations:


 

_
M
0
M
yt

_
qt
0
M aK


0

P t

0
KNL



yt
qt

11

the T -periodic solutions of which respect the condition




y0
q0




yT
qT


f0g:

12

Thus, one needs to solve a two-point boundary value


problem. Although not an essential step, the period can
be normalised to unity, by means of transformation
s t=T , so that the integration time interval is [0,1].
The system of dierential equations (11) then becomes


0
M

M
aK



_
ys
_
qs

 
0
T
P

M

0

0
KNL



ys
qs


:
13

The dot now indicates dierentiation with respect to s.


Consider the 2n phase space vector fX sg
fys; qsg. Assigning an initial condition fsg to fX sg
and rewriting (13) in a simplied manner, the following
initial value problem is obtained:

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P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

fX 0g fsg;
fX_ sg T M1 ff g  KfX sg;
fX g; fsg 2 R2n :

14

One is seeking for fsg, such that the residual vector


frfsg; xg, dened as
frfsg; xg fX fsg; x; 0g  fX fsg; x; 1g

15

Matrix W  ofX fsg;x;sg


 must be evaluated at s 1.
ofsg
Dierentiating both sides of Eq. (14) and the vector of
initial conditions with respect to fsg, we have
o ofX g
o
ofX g

T M1 ff g  Kfusg


;
os ofsg
ofX g
ofsg
ofX 0g
I; fX g; fsg 2 R2n :
ofsg
24

is close to zero.
frfsg; xg f0g:

16

The solution of (14) and (16) is the trajectory that


starts from the vector of initial conditions fsg at s 0
and arrives at the same location at s 1.
To apply the shooting algorithm an initial value is
required for fsg0 . For the rst two points, the initial
conditions are dened as
 0
0
;
17
fsg0
sq
where fsq g0 is the solution of the linear problem
K  x2 Mfsq g0 fP g:

18

The other initial guesses are dened by using former


periodic solutions, represented by the subscripts i and
i  1:
fsg0i1 fsg0i Dfsg0i1 ;
Dfsg0i1 fsg0i  fsg0i1 d:

19

The parameter d in Eq. (19) denes the increment in


frequency
xi1 xi dxi  xi1 :

20

It will be shown later that this simple secant predictor


allows one to describe fairly complex response curves,
and to nd stable and unstable solutions.
After dening a predictor, Newtons method is applied to nd the solution of (16). Thus, fsg is corrected
by using the following equation:
fsgv1 fsgv Dfsgv ;

21

Thus, matrix W fsg; x; 1 is the outcome of the following initial value problem:
W_  AW ;

W fsg; k; 0 I;

25

where matrix A is
As; fsg; k

o
T M1 ff g  KfX sg:
ofX g

26

The vector fX g and the matrix A are evaluated along


the periodic solution. In this work matrix A was analytically computed, with the help of a symbolic manipulator, and then stored in Fortran format.
Integrating (14) and (25) one calculates W fsg; x; 1
and fX fsg; x; 1g. A fourth order RungeKutta or
other method [16] may be used with this purpose. Then,
the system of equations (22) is solved and fsg is updated.
When Dfsg is suciently small and frg is close to zero,
convergence to a periodic solution has been achieved. At
this stage, one can dene a new predictor using Eqs. (19)
and (20) and proceed to the following point on the
curve.
The monodromy matrix W fsg; k; 1 is a by-product
of the shooting technique. As discussed, for example, by
Nayfeh and Balachandram [12] and by Seydel [13], the
complex eigenvalues of this matrix are the Floquet
multipliers and if a Floquet multiplier has norm greater
than one, then the solution is unstable. It is recalled that
the Floquet multipliers can leave the unit circle in three
ways. First through +1, resulting in a transcritical, a
symmetry-breaking or in a cyclic fold bifurcation. Second, through )1, resulting in a period-doubling bifurcation. Finally, two complex conjugate Floquet
multipliers can leave the unit circle, resulting in a secondary Hopf bifurcation.

until convergence is achieved. The vector Dfsgv solves


the linear system of equations
J sv ; xDfsgv frfsgv ; xg:

22

The matrix J  is the Jacobian of frfsg; xg with respect


to fsg, which may be written as


ofrg
J fsgv ; x
fsgv ; x
ofsg
I  W fsgv ; x; 1:

23

3. Numerical applications and discussions


3.1. Beams
A clampedclamped beam, Fig. 1, with properties
given in Tables 13 is studied rst, following thin beam
theory. The meaning of the symbols used in those tables
is the following: hthickness, bwidth, Llength, X
area of the transverse cross section, Isecond moment

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

y
F
x

Fig. 1. Clampedclamped beam and external excitation.

Table 1
Thin beams geometric properties
h (mm)

b (mm)

L (mm)

X (m2 )

I 1=12bh3
(m4 )

20

406

4 105

1.333(3) 101

Table 2
Thin beams material properties
E (N/m2 )

Material
Aluminium 7075-T6

10

7.172 10

q (kg/m3 )

2800

0.33

of area of the cross section, EYoungs modulus, q


mass density and mPoissons ratio. A large number of
shape functions is employed in the HFEM model uti-

1417

lised; thus, in the domain of validity of elastic thin


beams theory, the model is an accurate one [9].
In Fig. 2, in order to demonstrate the validity of the
procedure followed, the computed maximum displacement amplitudes of the beams middle point are compared with the ones experimentally measured [17]. A
point harmonic force of amplitude 0.134 N was applied
at the middle of the beam. Five transverse shape functions were used in the p-version nite element. In the
gure, the vertical axis gives the values of the maximum
displacement attained during a period of vibration, w,
divided by the thickness h and the horizontal axis gives
the a dimensional frequency. The agreement between
the computed and experimental values is fairly good.
In the analysis of this beam, it was veried that the
maximum amplitude of vibration, where a turning point
occurs, depends heavily on the loss factor considered.
The results shown on Fig. 2 are for an undamped beam.
In order to ascertain the dierences in the dynamic
behaviour that occur due to a change in the vibration
amplitude, Fig. 3a, displays the response of the same
beam to a transverse point harmonic force with amplitude 2 N, again applied at the middle of the beam.
Twelve longitudinal and eight transverse shape functions
were now employed and damping is again neglected.
Unstable solutions were now found, and super-harmonic resonances are more visible. In fact, two short
peaks due to super-harmonic resonances of order 3 and
5 appear before the main resonance; the rst peak close
to x=x1 0:2 and the second near 0.33. They are easily
visible in logarithmic scale, which is not shown for the

Table 3
Beams linear natural frequencies (rad/s)
Thickness

Theory

x1

x2

x3

x4

x5

h 2L=406
h L=20

Thin
FOSDT

396.605
3960.63

1093.26
10698.3

2143.26
20441.8

3543.31
32990.9

5375.22
39162.0

1.8

1.6
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0.5

0.7

0.9

1.1

1.3

1.5

1.7

Fig. 2. Transverse displacement of the beam at x 0: (s) numerical and (j) experimental.

1418

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

thickness of the beam. The rst, third, fth, seventh and


ninth harmonics are now present in the motions Fourier
spectrum. It is important to notice that the seventh
harmonic is quite signicant and is greater than the third
and the fth. However, since the fth harmonic is rather
small, one would be tempted to erroneously neglect the
seventh if the HBM was employed instead of the
shooting method.

sake of conciseness. Fig. 3b and c shows the time domain responses along three cycles of vibration and the
respective frequency spectrum of solutions close to
0:3782x1 . From these gures it becomes evident that the
third harmonic is present in the motions.
Fig. 3d shows the time series and the its coecients of
Fourier, when the excitation frequency is 970 rad/s and
the vibration amplitude is around three times the

3.5

2.5
2

1.5
1
0.5
0
0

Adimensional
amplitude

w
h

0.50

0.4

0.40

0.35

0.30

0.3

0.20

0.25

0.10

0.2

0.0
t+T

-0.10

t+3T

t+2T

0.15

-0.20

0.1

-0.30

0.05

-0.40

Harmonics
0

-0.50

10

Adimensional
amplitude
0.50

0.4

w
h

0.40

0.30

0.35
0.3

0.20

0.25

0.10
0.2

0.00
-0.10

t+T

t+3T 0.15

t+2T

-0.20

0.1

-0.30

0.05

-0.40

0
0

-0.50

3.00
4.00

w
h

3.00

-4.00

10

1.50

0.00

-3.00

2.00

1.00

-2.00

Adimensional
amplitude

2.50

2.00

-1.00

Harmonics

t+T

t+2T

t+3T

1.00
0.50

Harmonics

0.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Fig. 3. (a) Maximum transverse displacement at x 0 in function of excitation frequency: (d) stable solutions and (r) unstable
solutions. Displacement in function of time and Fourier series at (b) 0:3530x1 (140 rad/s), (c) 0:3782x1 (150 rad/s) and (d) 2:446x1
(970 rad/s).

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423


1.2

1419

w/h

secondary branch

0.8

Bifurcation

0.6
0.4

Super-harmonic

0.2

0
0.2

1.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

w/h

0.8

Bifurcation

0.6
secondary branch

Super-harmonic

0.4
0.2

0
0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

Fig. 4. Maximum transverse displacement at x 0 in function of excitation frequency: (a) thin beam theory and (b) thick beam theory.

The results from thin and thick beam theories are


compared in Fig. 4, where a beam with similar properties to the one studied before, except the thickness that
is now h L=20, is analysed. The natural frequencies of
this beam, were computed using FOSDT and are given
in Table 3. A 2000 N point force is applied transversely
at the middle of the beam. Following any of the theories, one nds a typical main resonance, of the rst
mode, and a, also typical, super-harmonic resonance
again of the rst mode. Not so commonly found, are the
turning point that occurs in the super-harmonic branch
and the branch of solutions that bifurcates from the
main branch. The latter was found by reducing d in
Eq. (19).
The bifurcation from the main branch is a consequence of a 1:5 internal resonance, where the rst and
third modes become coupled. The presence of these
modes was veried by plotting the shapes of the beam at
dierent instants along the vibration period (not shown).
It is curious to realise that, as one proceeds in the secondary branch of solutions, at a certain stage the maximum amplitude displacement at x 0 barely changes,
as if it were locked. However, the smaller amplitude
waves connected to the fth harmonic, increase steadily.
Fig. 5 shows some time and phase plots of motions
before and after the bifurcation.

The turning point in the super-harmonic branch is


also due to due to an internal resonance and coupling
between modes, again the rst and the third mode (Fig.
6). The number of loops in the phase planeFig. 6bis
quite large, because the rst mode is linked with a superharmonic of order 3 and the third mode is associated
with a super-harmonic of order 15 (that gives a 1:5
internal resonance between super-harmonics). The
shooting and Newton methods accommodated this
reach dynamics rather easily, and, in the rst place, the
p-version nite element model allowed one to accurately
consider large order modes.
The thin beam theory predicts the main branch of
this L=h 20 beam quite reasonably, although we
should point out that the rst linear natural frequency is
3960.63 rad/s according to the thick beam theory whilst
the thin beam theory gives 4025.54 rad/s (1.64% relative
error).
Quantitatively, a quite larger dierence stems from
applying one or the other theory in what the bifurcation
and the turning points are concerned. This is natural,
since those points are due to modal interaction with
higher order modes, and, as is well known, higher order
theories provide better predictions of higher order
modes. For example the thick beam theory indicates
that the third linear natural frequency is 20441.8 rad/s,

1420

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

0.8

w/ h

=1.1160 1

2 w
5

0.6

0.4
0.2

w/ h

-0.2

-0.25 -1

-0.75

-0.4

0.25

0.75

-3

-0.6

-5

-0.8

=1.1362 1
1

2 w

w/ h

6
0.5

4
2

w/ h

-1

-2 0

-0.5

-0.5

0.5

-4
-6

-1

-8

2 w
0.8

w/ h

=1.2427 1

15

0.6

10

0.4
0.2

-0.2

-0.75

-0.25

-5

w/ h
0.25

0.75

-0.4
-0.6
-0.8

-10
-15

Fig. 5. Transverse displacement at x 0 for points of main (x 1:1160x1 ) and of secondary branch (x 1:1362x1 and 1:2427x1 )
of the response curve portrayed in Fig. 4, thin beam theory.

whilst the thin beam theory gives 21754.1 rad/s (relative


error: 6.4%).
Regarding the numerical procedure, because the thin
beam theory results in a lighter model, its computational
cost is much lower, not only due to the reduced number
of degrees of freedom, but also because the time step
employed in the RungeKutta method may be larger
than in the thick beam model.

3.2. Plates
The properties of the rst plate analyseda quadrangular steel plate with all edges immovable and
clamped (Plate 1)are given in Table 4. The letter a
designates the plates width. The rst ve linear natural
frequencies of the plate are given in Table 5. A p-version,
hierarchical nite element with three out-of-plane and
six in-plane shape functions was employed to carry out
the computations, as in [10].

Fig. 7 displays the plates frequency response to an


uniform harmonic, distributed force of 4000 N/m2 . Due
to damping, which is taken into account by means of a
loss factor equal to 0.001, the maximum vibration
amplitude is less than 1.6 h. The displacement of the
middle point of the plate along one cycle and the
respective Fourier spectrum are shown as well, for some
frequencies of excitation. As with the beams, higher
harmonics appear.
In order to investigate the inuence of the rotatory
inertia and of the shear deformation, fully clamped
square steel plates with 500 mm width and two dierentthicknesses h 5 mm (Plate 2) and h 50 mm
(Plate 3)were investigated. The thick plate p-version
element employed had 3 out-of-plane, 5 membrane and
5 rotational shape functions (element with 59 DOF,
after condensation, i.e. 118 phase space co-ordinates).
Obviously, in the thin plate model there are no rotational generalised coordinates, therefore the number of
DOF is only 9 (18 phase space coordinates).

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423


.

2 w

a) / 1= 0.3416

2 w

20

w/h

-2 0

0.2

-0.35

0.4

-5
-10

-6

-15

-8

-20

0.25

w ( x) 0.2

0.3

0.05

0.25

d) / 1= 0.3510

0.15

0.25

0.1

0.2

0.05
0

0.15

0.05

L
2

L
2
-0.1

-0.05

0.1

-0.15

-4

c) / 1= 0.3416

0.35

w/h

w ( x)

b) / 1= 0.3510

10

-0.2

15

-0.4

1421

-0.15

L
2

L
2

-0.2

Fig. 6. Phase plots (a,b) and deformed shapes (c,d) for excitation frequencies x=x1 0:3416 and 0.3510, super-harmonic branch,
thick beam theory.

Table 4
Geometric and material properties of Plate 1
a (mm)
500

h (mm)
2.0833

E (N/m2 )

Material

10

21.0 10

Steel

q (kg/m3 )

7800

0.3

Table 5
Linear natural frequencies of Plate 1 (rad/s)
x1

x2

x3

x4

x5

470.866

960.588

960.588

1416.54

1724.31

Figs. 8 and 9 show the response curves of the Plates 2


and 3, due to distributed excitation forces with the
amplitudes indicated in the gures legends. Plate 2 is
thin (h=a 0:01). Therefore, the dierence between the
values of the rst linear frequency calculated using thin
plate (1130.2187 rad/s) and thick plate theory (1129.0358
rad/s) is very small (0.1%). The non-linear response does
not dier very much as well, except when higher order
modes are excited, which is not the case of the results
given in Fig. 8.
Since Plate 3 is already a thick plate (h=a 0:1), the
dierence between the values of the rst linear frequency
calculated when neglecting transverse shear and rotatory
inertia (11302.187 rad/s) and when they are considered
(10307.041 rad/s) is signicant (9.7%). For amplitudes of
vibration larger then approximately 0.25 the plates
thickness, the non-linear response is also signicantly

dierent, even in what concerns the denition of the


solutions stability.

4. Conclusions
The feasibility of the nite element, shooting and
Newton methods in the determination of non-linear
periodic motions of either thin or thick, beams or plates
was demonstrated. The fact that motions with any
number of harmonics can be analysed, as long as the
time step employed in the integration of the dierential
equations of motion is small enough, is a very important
property. The procedures employed allowed namely to
derive response curves of non-linear structures, including the denition of internal and super-harmonic resonances, and the computation of stable and unstable

1422

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423


1.6

1.4

1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4

/ 1

0.2
0
0
0.8

0.6

0.5

0.5
0.4

t+T

0.3
0.2

-0.4

0.1

-0.6

Harmonics
0

-0.8

0.8

0.6

10

0.7
0.6
0.5

0.2

0.4

-0.2

t+T

-0.4

0.3
0.2
0.1

-0.6

Harmonics

-0.8

-1

0.6
0.4
0.2

t+T

-0.8
-1

10

Harmonics
1

10

Adimensional
amplitude

1.4

0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0

1.5

Adimensional
amplitude

0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5

1.2

0.5

0.8
0.6

0
-0.5

Adimensional amplitude

0.8

0.4

0
-0.2
-0.4
-0.6

0.6

0.2

1
0.8

1.5

Adimensional amplitude

0.7

0.4

-0.2

0.8

t+T

0.4
0.2

-1
-1.5

Harmonics

0
0

10

Fig. 7. (a) Transverse displacement at x 0, y 0 in function of frequency. Displacement in function of time and Fourier series at
(b) 0:2124x1 (100 rad/s), (c) 0:3398x1 (160 rad/s), (d) 0:4885x1 (230 rad/s) and (e) 1:380x1 (650 rad/s).

solutions. Secondary branches were found as well. The


simple predictor used in the Newton method was quite
helpful in reducing convergence problems.
Naturally, because the fundamental frequency of
vibration was the parameter in the Newton method, it
would not be feasible to pass turning points where the
tendency of change in frequency would reverse from
increasing to decreasing, or vice-versa. Another draw-

back of the procedure, in comparison with frequency


domain methods based on the harmonic balance procedure, is that the shooting method is more demanding
in computational resources.
Even for thin structures, when modal coupling occurs
the thin and thick theories give dierent results. This
occurs because modal coupling brings higher order
modes into the denition of the motion. As a result,

P. Ribeiro / Computers and Structures 82 (2004) 14131423

1.50

wh

1.00
0.50

/ 1
0.00
0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

Fig. 8. Response at the center of Plate 2, to a harmonic distributed force of 2000 N/m2 : (s) thick plate theory and (d) thin
plate theory.

1.25

wh

1
0.75
0.5
0.25

/ 1

0
0.9

1.1

1.2

1.3

Fig. 9. Response at the center of Plate 3, to a harmonic distributed force of 5 105 N/m2 . Thick plate theory: (s) unstable,
(d) stable and (m) thin plate theory, stable.

beams and plates that can be studied employing thin


theories in the linear domain, may quite possibly require
that a thick theory is followed if their non-linear dynamic behaviour is to be accurately analysed.

Acknowledgement
The support from the Portuguese Science and
Technology Foundation, who nanced this work
under project POCTI 32641/99, FEDER, is gratefully
acknowledged.

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