Large-amplitude (geometrically nonlinear) forced vibrations of completely free sandwich and steel rectangular plates are investigated experimentally. Harmonic excitation is applied by using an electro-dynamic exciter and the plate vibration is measured by using laser Doppler vibrometers. A scanning laser Doppler vibrometer is used for experimental modal analysis since it provides non-contact vibration measurements with very high spatial resolution. The large-amplitude vibration experiments are carried out by using a single point Laser Doppler Vibrometer and a stepped-sine testing procedure. The non-linear frequency response curves are obtained by increasing and decreasing the excitation frequency in very small steps at specific force amplitudes controlled in a closed-loop. The experimental results are compared to numerical simulations obtained by reduced-order models and show very good agreement. The nonlinear damping is experimentally obtained as a function of the vibration amplitude.

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