Nonlinear modal analysis of the smallsat spacecraft

L. Renson*, G. Kerschen, A. Newerla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

2 Citations (Scopus)


Non-linear elements are present in practically all spacecraft structures. The assumption of a (quasi-)linear structure is nevertheless adequate for structural analyses and design verification purposes in those cases where these structural non-linearities are relatively weak or not substantially activated by the mechanical environments encountered during the launch or during ground testing. However, when significant non-linear effects in spacecraft structures are no longer negligible then linear modal analysis will not be able to handle non-linear dynamical phenomena in an adequate manner: the development of a non-linear analogue of linear modal analysis becomes an urgent and important issue. The objective of this paper is to show that nonlinear normal modes (NNMs) represent a useful and practical tool in this context. A full-scale spacecraft structure is considered and is modeled using the finite element method. Its NNMs are computed using advanced numerical algorithms, and the resulting dynamics is then carefully analyzed. Nonlinear phenomena with no linear counterpart including nonlinear modal interactions are also highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event30th IMAC, A Conference on Structural Dynamics, 2012 - Jacksonville, FL, United States
Duration: 30 Jan 20122 Feb 2012


Conference30th IMAC, A Conference on Structural Dynamics, 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityJacksonville, FL


  • Modal analysis
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Nonlinear normal modes
  • Space structure


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