Non-smooth Dynamical Systems and Applications

  • Karin Mora

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The purpose of this work is to illuminate some of the non-smooth phenomena found in piecewise-smooth continuous and discrete dynamical systems, which do not occur in smooth systems. We will explain how such non-smooth phenomena arise in applications which experience impact, such as impact oscillators, and a type of rotating machine, called magnetic bearing systems. The study of their dynamics and sensitivity to parameter variation gives not just insights into the critical motion found in these applications, but also into the complexity and beauty in their own right.This work comprises two parts. The first part studies a general one-dimensional discontinuous power law map which can arise from impact oscillators with a repelling wall. Parameter variation and the influence of the exponent on the existence and stability of periodic orbits is presented.In the second part we analyse two coupled oscillators that model rotating machines colliding with a circular boundary under friction. The study of the dynamics of rigid bodies impacting with and without friction is approached in two ways. On the one hand existence and stability conditions for non-impacting and impacting invariant sets are derived using local and global methods. On the other hand the analysis of parameter variation reveals new non-smooth bifurcations. Extensive numerical studies confirm these results and reveal further phenomena not attainable otherwise.
Date of Award1 May 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorChris Budd (Supervisor)


  • dynamical systems
  • chaos
  • impact oscillator
  • impacts
  • bifurcations

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