Since linear modal analysis fails in the presence of non-linear dynamical phenomena, the concept of nonlinear normal modes (NNMs) was introduced with the aim of providing a rigorous generalization of linear normal modes to nonlinear systems. Initially defined as periodic solutions, numerical techniques such as the continuation of periodic solutions were used to compute NNMs. Because these methods are limited to conservative systems, the present study targets the computation of NNMs for non-conservative systems. Their definition as invariant manifolds in phase space is considered.
Specifically, the partial differential equations governing the manifold geometry are considered as transport equations and an adequate finite element technique is proposed to solve them. The method is first demonstrated on a conservative nonlinear beam and the results are compared to standard continuation techniques. Then, linear damping is introduced in the system and the applicability of the method is demonstrated.