The parametric excitation of an axially-moving plate is examined in an application where a partial foundation moves in the plane of the plate and in a direction orthogonal to the plate’s transport. The stability of the plate’s out-of-plane vibration is of interest in a magnetic tape data storage application where the read/write head is substantially narrower than the tape’s width, and is repositioned during track following maneuvers. In this case, the model’s equation of motion has time-dependent coefficients, and vibration is excited both parametrically and by direct forcing. The parametric instability of out-of-plane vibration is analyzed by using the Floquet theory for finite values of the foundation’s range of motion. For a relatively soft foundation, vibration is excited preferentially at the primary resonance of the plate’s fundamental torsional mode. As the foundation’s stiffness increases, multiple primary and combination resonances occur, and they dominate the plate’s stability; small islands, however, do exist within unstable zones of the frequency-amplitude parameter space for which vibration is marginally stable. The plate’s and foundation’s geometry, the foundation’s stiffness, and the excitation’s amplitude and frequency can be selected in order to reduce undesirable vibration that occurs along the plate’s free edge.

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