Chaotic vibrations of functionally graded doubly curved shells subjected to concentrated harmonic load are investigated. It is assumed that the shell is simply supported and the edges can move freely in in-plane directions. Donnell’s nonlinear shallow shell theory is used and the governing partial differential equations are obtained in terms of shell’s transverse displacement and Airy’s stress function. By using Galerkin’s technique, the equations of motion are reduced to a set of infinite nonlinear ordinary differential equations with cubic and quadratic nonlinearities. A bifurcation analysis is carried out and the discretized equations are integrated at (i) fixed excitation frequencies and variable excitation amplitudes and (ii) fixed excitation amplitudes and variable excitation frequencies. In particular, Gear’s backward differentiation formula is used to obtain bifurcation diagrams, Poincare´ maps and time histories. Furthermore, maximum Lyapunov exponent and Lyapunov spectrum are obtained to classify the rich dynamics. It is revealed that the shell may exhibit complex behaviour including sub-harmonic, quasi-periodic and chaotic response when subjected to large harmonic excitations.

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