The nonlinear response characteristics for a dynamic system with a geometric nonlinearity is examined using a multibody dynamics method. The planar system is an initially straight clamped-clamped beam subject to high frequency excitation in the vicinity of its third natural mode. The model includes a pre-applied static axial load, linear bending stiffness and a cubic in-plane stretching force. Constrained flexibility is applied to a multibody method that lumps the beam into N elements for three substructures subjected to the nonlinear partial differential equation of motion and N-1 linear modal constraints. This procedure is verified by d’Alembert’s principle that leads to a discrete form of Galerkin’s method. A finite difference scheme models the elastic forces. The beam is tuned by the axial force to obtain fourth order internal resonance that demonstrates bimodal and trimodal responses in agreement with low and moderate excitation test results. The continuous Galerkin method is shown to generate results conflicting with the test and multibody method. A new checking function based on Gauss’ principle of least constraint is applied to the beam to minimize modal constraint error.

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