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Delayed bifurcation in elastic snap-through instabilities

Liu, M., Gomez, M., & Vella, D. (2021). Delayed bifurcation in elastic snap-through instabilities. J Mech. Phys. Solids, 151, 104386.


We study elastic snap-through induced by a control parameter that evolves dynamically. In particular, we study an elastic arch subject to an end-shortening that evolves linearly with time, i.e. at a constant rate. For large end-shortening the arch is bistable but, below a critical end-shortening, the arch becomes monostable. We study when and how the arch transitions between states and show that the end-shortening at which the fast ‘snap’ happens depends on the rate at which the end-shortening is reduced. This delay in snap-through is a consequence of delayed bifurcation and occurs even in the perfectly elastic case when viscous (and viscoelastic) effects are negligible. We present the results of numerical simulations to determine the magnitude of this delay (and the associated time lag) as the loading rate and the importance of external viscous damping vary. We also present an asymptotic analysis of the geometrically-nonlinear problem that reduces the salient dynamics to that of an ordinary differential equation; the form of this reduced equation is generic for snap-through instabilities in which the relevant control parameter is ramped linearly in time. Moreover, this asymptotic reduction allows us to derive analytical results for the delay observed in snap-through that are in good agreement with the results of our simulations. Finally, we discuss scaling laws for the delay that should be expected in other examples of delayed bifurcation in elastic instabilities.

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