Time histories, phase plane portraits, power spectra, and Poincare maps are used as descriptors to observe the evolution of chaos in an autonomous system. Although the motions of such a system can be quite complex, these descriptors prove helpful in detecting the essential structure of the motion. Here the principal interest is in phase plane portraits and Poincare maps, their methods of construction, and physical interpretation. The system chosen for study has been previously discussed in the literature, i.e., the flutter of a buckled elastic plate in a flowing fluid.

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