The present paper deals with the effects of initial geometric imperfections on large-amplitude vibrations of simply supported rectangular plates. The vibration mode, the geometric imperfection, and the forcing function are taken to be of the same spatial shape. It is found that geometric imperfections of the order of a fraction of the plate thickness may significantly raise the free linear vibration frequencies. Furthermore, contrary to the commonly accepted theory that large-amplitude vibrations of plates are of the hardening type, the presence of small geometric imperfections may cause the plate to exhibit a soft-spring behavior. The effects of hysteresis (structural) damping on the vibration amplitude are also examined.

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