The newly developed control-based continuation technique has made it possible to perform experimental bifurcation analysis, e.g. to track stable as well as unstable branches of frequency responses directly in experiments. The method bypasses mathematical models, and systematically explores how vibration characteristics of dynamical systems change under variation of parameters. The method employs a control scheme to modify the response stability. While this facilitates exploration of the unstable branches of a bifurcation diagram, it unfortunately makes it impossible to distinguish previously stable and unstable equilibrium states. We present the ongoing work of developing and applying the control-based continuation method to an experimental mechanical test-rig, consisting of a harmonically forced nonlinear impact oscillator controlled by electromagnetic actuators. Furthermore we propose and test ideas on how to determine the stability of equilibria states during continuation.

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