Efficiently predicting the vibratory responses of flexible structures which experience unilateral contact is becoming of high engineering importance. An example of such a system is a rotor blade within a turbine engine; small operating clearances and varying loading conditions often result in contact between the blade and the casing.

The method of weighted residuals is a effective approach to simulating such behaviour as it can efficiently enforce time-periodic solutions of lightly damped, flexible structures experiencing unilateral contact. The Harmonic Balance Method (HBM) based on Fourier expansion of the sought solution is a common formulation, though it is hypothesized wavelet bases that can sparsely define nonsmooth solutions may be superior. This is investigated herein using an axially vibrating rod with unilateral contact conditions. A distributional formulation in time is introduced allowing periodic, square-integrable trial functions to approximate the second-order equations. The mixed wavelet Petrov-Galerkin solutions are found to yield consistent or better results than HBM, with similar convergence rates and seemingly more accurate contact force prediction.

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