Control based bifurcation analysis for experiments

J Sieber, B Krauskopf

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We introduce a method for tracking nonlinear oscillations and their bifurcations in nonlinear dynamical systems. Our method does not require a mathematical model of the dynamical system nor the ability to set its initial conditions. Instead it relies on feedback stabilizability, which makes the approach applicable in an experiment. This is demonstrated with a proof-of-concept computer experiment of the classical autonomous dry friction oscillator, where we use a fixed time step simulation and include noise to mimic experimental limitations. For this system we track in one parameter a family of unstable nonlinear oscillations that forms the boundary between the basins of attraction of a stable equilibrium and a stable stick-slip oscillation. Furthermore, we track in two parameters the curves of Hopf bifurcation and grazing-sliding bifurcation that form the boundary of the bistability region. An accompanying animation further visualizes the action of the controller during the tracking process
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Additional information: The manuscript is accompanied by an animation, described in the section "Electronic supplementary material"

Sponsorship: The research of J. Sieber was supported by EPSRC grant GR/R72020/01, and that of B.Krauskopf by an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship


  • bifurcation analysis
  • hybrid experiments
  • numerical continuation


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