Transition From Soliton to Chaotic Motion Following Sudden Excitation of a Nonlinear Structure

[+] Author and Article Information
M. A. Davies, F. C. Moon

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

J. Appl. Mech 63(2), 445-449 (Jun 01, 1996) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2788887 History: Received August 19, 1994; Revised April 25, 1995; Online October 26, 2007


The existence of a transition from soliton-like motions to spatially and temporally disordered motions in a periodic structure with buckling nonlinearity is demonstrated. An experiment consisting of nine harmonic oscillators coupled with buckling sensitive elastica was constructed. This experiment is modeled using a modified Toda lattice. As has been shown in previous work, the experiment and the model show strong sensitivity to initial conditions. Here we show that this sensitivity may be related to a transition from relatively ordered solitary wave motion, immediately following the impact, to disordered motions at a later time. Some of the behavior of the observed wave structures is explained using Toda’s analytical results; however, the reasons for the break-up of the waves and their role in the generation of spatio-temporal disorder is not fully understood. We speculate that some type of transient chaotic motion is responsible for the observed behavior. These findings are relevant to aircraft, ship, and space structures that are subjected to large dynamic loads.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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