The authors present a rational analysis of the effect of initial geometric imperfections on the dynamic behaviour of rectangular plates activated by a parametric excitation. This subject has been extensively investigated theoretically in the past, but no experimental data seems to be complete enough to validate the theory. The main objective of this investigation is to fill this void by performing experimental tests on geometrically imperfect plates, and to highlight the geometric imperfection’s influence on resonance’s curves. The study is carried out for an isotropic, elastic, homogeneous, and thin rectangular plate. The plate under investigation is subjected to the action of an in-plane force uniformly distributed along two opposite edges, is initially stress free and simply supported. Theoretical calculation and experimental tests are performed. In the theoretical approach, a dynamic version of the Von Kármán non-linear theory is used to evaluate the lateral displacement of the plate. The test rig used in the experimentation simulates simply supported edges and can accept plates with different aspect ratio. The test plates are pre-formed with lateral deflection or geometrical imperfections, in a shape corresponding to various vibration modes. Comparison between experimental and theoretical results reveals good agreement and allows the determination of the theory’s limitations. The theory used correctly describes the behaviour of the plate when imperfection amplitude is inferior to the plate thickness.

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