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Physical Review E


This article explores the excitation of different vibrational states in a spatially extended dynamical system through theory and experiment. As a prototypical example, we consider a one-dimensional packing of spherical particles (a so-called granular chain) that is subject to harmonic boundary excitation. The combination of the multi-modal nature of the system and the strong coupling between the particles due to the nonlinear Hertzian contact force leads to broad regions in frequency where different vibrational states are possible. In certain parametric regions, we demonstrate that the Nonlinear Schr¨odinger (NLS) equation predicts the corresponding modes fairly well. We propose that nonlinear multi-modal systems can be useful in vibration energy harvesting and discuss a prototypical framework for its realization. The electromechanical model we derive predicts accurately the conversion from mechanical to electrical energy observed in the experiments.


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