The role of the experimental analysis in the formulation of reduced analytical models of planar arches under a vertical, sinusoidally varying, concentrated force on the tip is analyzed in this work. After recalling the theory describing the continuous problem for different initial geometries, using a standard Galerkin procedure, two ode’s are derived and used to enlighten all the interesting phenomena exhibited by different prototypes tested in a companion experimental analysis whose results are also used to validate the shape functions used in the discretization procedure. The principal region of instability of the unimodal symmetric solution in which the nonlinear modal coupling excites antisymmetric components is studied analyzing the bifurcation conditions and the post-critical behavior.

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