Out-of-unison resonance in weakly nonlinear coupled oscillators

Tom L Hill, Andrea Cammarano, Simon A Neild, David J Wagg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
324 Downloads (Pure)


Resonance is an important phenomenon in vibrating systems and, in systems of nonlinear coupled oscillators, resonant interactions can occur between constituent parts of the system. In this paper, out-of-unison resonance is defined as a solution in which components of the response are 90° out-of-phase, in contrast to the in-unison responses that are normally considered. A well-known physical example of this is whirling, which can occur in a taut cable. Here, we use a normal form technique to obtain time-independent functions known as backbone curves. Considering a model of a cable, this approach is used to identify out-of-unison resonance and it is demonstrated that this corresponds to whirling. We then show how out-of-unison resonance can occur in other two degree-of-freedom nonlinear oscillators. Specifically, an in-line oscillator consisting of two masses connected by nonlinear springs—a type of system where out-of-unison resonance has not previously been identified—is shown to have specific parameter regions where out-of-unison resonance can occur. Finally, we demonstrate how the backbone curve analysis can be used to predict the responses of forced systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20140659
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2173
Early online date8 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2015


  • nonlinear oscillator
  • normal form
  • internal resonance
  • backbone curve

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