Presented is an analysis of wave propagation in an infinite elastic plate or beam on an elastic foundation, based on a comparison of frequency spectra (or wave-train solutions) from the exact equations and existing approximate bending theories. A distinct similarity is found between the spectrum representing the more exact theory of bending and the Rayleigh-Lamb spectrum for symmetric waves in a free elastic plate, including the existence of complex branches. Good agreement between the approximate theories and the exact equations is found for soft foundations under the usual restrictions on high-frequency, short waves.

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