Wave Propagation in Nonlinear Systems of Coupled Oscillators
Mechanical oscillators form the primary structure of a wide variety of devices including energy harvesters and vibration absorbers, and also have parallel systems in electrical fields for signal processing. In the area of wave propagation, recent study in periodic chains have focused on active tuning methods to control bandgap regions, bands in the frequency response in which no propagating wave modes exist. In energy harvesting, several coupled systems have been proposed to enhance the peak power or bandwidth of a single harvester through arrays or dynamic magnification. Though there are applications in several fields, the work in this dissertation can all fit into the category of coupled non-linear oscillators. In each sub-field, this study demonstrates means to advance state of the art techniques by adding nonlinearity to a coupled system of linear oscillators, or by adding a coupled device to a nonlinear oscillator.
The first part of this dissertation develops the analytical methods for studying wave propagation in nonlinear systems. A framework for studying rotational systems is presented and used to design an testbed for wave propagation experiments using a chain of axially aligned pendulums. Standard analytical methods are also adapted to allow uncertainty analysis techniques to provide insight into the relative impact of variations in design parameters. Most analytical insight in these systems is derived from a linearlized model and assumes low amplitude oscillations. Additional study on the nonlinear system is performed to analyze the types of deviations from this behavior that would be expected as amplitudes increase and nonlinear effects become more prominent.
The second part of this dissertation describes and demonstrates the first means of passive control of bandgap regions in a periodic structure. By imposing an asymmetrical bistability to an oscillator in each unit cell, it is analytically shown that each potential well has different wave propagation behaviors. Experimental demonstrations are also provided to confirm the simulated results.
The final section performs analytical and numerical analysis of a new system design to improve the performance of a nonlinear energy harvester by adding an excited dynamic magnifier. It is shown that this addition results in higher peak power and wider bandwidth than the uncoupled harvester. Unlike standard dynamic magnifiers, this performance does not come at the expense of power efficiency, and unlike harvester arrays, does not require the added cost of multiple energy harvesters.
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