Comparing the direct normal form and multiple scales methods through frequency detuning

Alexander Elliott, Andrea Cammarano, Simon Neild, Tom Hill, D.J. Wagg

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Approximate analytical methods, such as the multiple scales (MS) and direct normal form (DNF) techniques, have been used extensively for investigating nonlinear mechanical structures, due to their ability to offer insight into the system dynamics. A comparison of their accuracy has not previously been undertaken, so is addressed in this paper. This is achieved by computing the backbone curves of two systems: the single-degree-of-freedom Duffing oscillator and a non-symmetric, two-degree-of-freedom oscillator. The DNF method includes an inherent detuning, which can be physically interpreted as a series expansion about the natural frequencies of the underlying linear system and has previously been shown to increase its accuracy. In contrast, there is no such inbuilt detuning for MS, although one may be, and usually is, included. This paper investigates the use of the DNF detuning as the chosen detuning in the MS method as a way of equating the two techniques, demonstrating that the two can be made to give identical results up to ε2ε2 order. For the examples considered here, the resulting predictions are more accurate than those provided by the standard MS technique. Wolfram Mathematica scripts implementing these methods have been provided to be used in conjunction with this paper to illustrate their practicality.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Early online date14 Sep 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sep 2018


  • nonlinear
  • vibration
  • normal form
  • multiple scales


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