The equations of motion governing the three-dimensional finite-amplitude response of a plate in arbitrary space motion are derived and shown to lead to dynamic coupling between the transverse and in-plane displacement. A general method of solution for such problems is demonstrated in an example involving a simply supported rectangular plate spinning about an axis parallel to an edge and nutating through a small angle. The method involves an asymptotic expansion using the derivative expansion version of the method of multiple time scales, in conjunction with the Galerkin method. A critical spin rate leading to the loss of stability in divergence is determined. Then, a numerical example of resonant excitation of one principal coordinate demonstrates that the nonlinear response resembling the one obtained from linear theory may lose stability in favor of a second response in which several principal coordinates are mutually excited. Consideration of the interaction between in-plane and transverse displacements is shown to be crucial to the prediction of this “unusual” response.

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